Censorship in Debian

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Censorship in Debian

Daniel Pocock-4


Hi all,

I was recently at the UN forum on business and human rights, listening to an Iranian dissident talk[1] about the extremes that his country goes to in censoring and silencing people who don't agree with their rulers.  I would encourage people to watch the video.

At that very same moment, the anti-harassment team were censoring[2] a Debian Developer's blog from Planet Debian.  Chilling.

I actually looked at Planet shortly after attending that panel discussion and immediately noticed that Norbert Preining[3] had been censored.  Disappearances of Khashoggi[4] and Kamphuis[5] came to mind.

At that moment, being surrounded by experts on human rights and freedom of expression who may have far more experience than most of us in Debian, I did a quick survey.  I couldn't find one person who supported the actions of the censors.

Some of Norbert's blogs make people think, but they appear to be overwhelmingly motivated by legitimate issues and his recent blog thanking[6] Lars[7] appeared to end in an upbeat and sincere manner.  Whether I agree with either of them or not, I'd like to take this opportunity to wholeheartedly thank both Lars and Norbert for their contributions as fellow Debian Developers and fellow bloggers.

Norbert had also made political statements[8] concerning the way codes of conduct are used in our communities.  People who speak up like this are frequent targets for political plots, protecting these people is imperative.

Looking at Debian's code of conduct[9], there is no compelling violation of the code in Norbert's writing.  Indeed, the only violation of the code of conduct may be the act of censorship itself: the very first point tells us "inevitably there will be people with whom you may disagree, or find it difficult to cooperate. Accept that, but even so, remain respectful."

Even without contemplating the code of conduct, censorship has a sinister effect on discussion.  People notice when somebody disappears and they become hesitant to speak about problems, whether they are technical issues or social issues.  I feel compelled to speak up but as I write this, I contemplate the risk that some people will try the same tactics as the Iranians, censoring me, threatening me or dragging my name through the mud.  If they try that, they may give each other a pat on the back but they don't fool our community at large.

Nonetheless, article 30 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights[10] clearly states that no institution should act in any way to destroy the rights enshrined in the UDHR.  The definition of an "institution" there clearly applies to a group with the influence of Debian, it is not only for states and courts.

Wake up, people.  If we are repressing members of our own organization like this, we haven't got a hope in hell of achieving our mission[11] for society at large.

The UN calls on us to "stand up 4 human rights" on this 70th anniversary of that declaration.  You can do that now by standing up for Norbert.  It takes minutes for anybody, Developer or not, to submit a merge request in Salsa[12] to uncomment his blog.  You can also email the Debian Project Leader, [hidden email]

If you know people in other organizations concerned with human rights, discuss Norbert's case with them and get their opinion, just as I did.

You can't pick and choose human rights, having some freedoms and not others, the declaration even implies this too.  Anybody who tries to do that is on a very slippery slope indeed.

In my role as a representative in another organization and in my extensive work with Debian, various people have approached me about incidents of censorship and overbearing efforts to control participation in the free software community.  It is far more widespread than many people realize.  It only happens because people fail to speak up.  For example, an FSFE volunteer was censored at 34C3 after distributing leaflets questioning Google's funding to FSFE.  There is increasing fear that "anti-harassment" efforts are being used as cover for political agendas, they are operating in a bubble and diverging significantly from what would be acceptable in any other organization or field of endeavour.  They post big newsletters to debian-devel-announce boasting about their work but many people feel those reports reek of gloating and one-upmanship.

On a technical level, we may want to consider whether Planet is fit for purpose: if we want to showcase best practice in creating a platform where freedom of expression can thrive and remain immune to abuses, should we simply make more efforts to migrate to a decentralized tool, eliminating the risk that any subgroup or faction within Debian will be able to carry on like that now or in future?

As somebody more famous once said, "I Disapprove of What You Say, But I Will Defend to the Death Your Right to Say It".  I welcome responses to this topic whether you share my concerns or not but if nobody cares about this stuff, please tell me, so I can stop contributing to Debian and go elsewhere.

Regards,

Daniel

1. http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/human-rights-council/forum-on-business-and-human-rights/watch/panel-on-safeguarding-human-rights-defenders-forum-on-business-and-human-rights-2018/5972123912001/?term=
2. https://salsa.debian.org/planet-team/config/commit/99662c1548fac57813e5288002e3c6eeccf25ec6
3. https://preining.info/
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamal_Khashoggi
5. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/sep/14/speculation-over-fate-of-missing-dutchman-linked-to-wikileaks
6. https://www.preining.info/blog/2018/11/on-lars-wirzenius-fun-and-debian/
7. https://blog.liw.fi/posts/2018/11/18/retiring_from_debian/
8. https://www.preining.info/blog/2018/09/sharp-did-it-again/
9. https://www.debian.org/code_of_conduct
10. http://standup4humanrights.org/en/article.html?article=30
11. https://www.debian.org/social_contract
12. https://salsa.debian.org/planet-team/config


--
Debian Developer
https://danielpocock.com



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Re: Censorship in Debian

Adam Borowski-3
On Thu, Dec 20, 2018 at 09:31:46PM +0000, Daniel Pocock wrote:
> I was recently at the UN forum on business and human rights, listening
> to an Iranian dissident talk[1] about the extremes that his country goes
> to in censoring and silencing people who don't agree with their rulers. 
> I would encourage people to watch the video.
>
> At that very same moment, the anti-harassment team were censoring[2] a
> Debian Developer's blog from Planet Debian.  Chilling.
[...]
> Looking at Debian's code of conduct[9], there is no compelling violation
> of the code in Norbert's writing.  Indeed, the only violation of the
> code of conduct may be the act of censorship itself: the very first
> point tells us "inevitably there will be people with whom you may
> disagree, or find it difficult to cooperate. Accept that, but even so,
> remain respectful."
[...]
> Even without contemplating the code of conduct, censorship has a
> sinister effect on discussion.

I agree with you wholeheartly.  Censorship is at the root, or very close to
the roots, of pretty much any violation of freedom I can think of.


--
⢀⣴⠾⠻⢶⣦⠀
⣾⠁⢠⠒⠀⣿⡁ Ivan was a worldly man: born in St. Petersburg, raised in
⢿⡄⠘⠷⠚⠋⠀ Petrograd, lived most of his life in Leningrad, then returned
⠈⠳⣄⠀⠀⠀⠀ to the city of his birth to die.

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Re: Censorship in Debian

Russ Allbery-2
In reply to this post by Daniel Pocock-4
Daniel Pocock <[hidden email]> writes:

> I was recently at the UN forum on business and human rights, listening
> to an Iranian dissident talk[1] about the extremes that his country goes
> to in censoring and silencing people who don't agree with their rulers. 
> I would encourage people to watch the video.

> At that very same moment, the anti-harassment team were censoring[2] a
> Debian Developer's blog from Planet Debian.  Chilling.

> I actually looked at Planet shortly after attending that panel
> discussion and immediately noticed that Norbert Preining[3] had been
> censored.  Disappearances of Khashoggi[4] and Kamphuis[5] came to mind.

Entirely apart from the merits of the rest of your discussion of whether
the project should republish this blog using project resources, this
framing is appalling and blatantly dishonest.  It intentionally conflates
issues of government censorship and journalistic freedom that have cost
people their lives with a dispute over whether Debian should *republish*
content that has not been censored, restricted, or removed in any way, let
alone been subject to threats of physical violence.

I object in the strongest possible terms to this framing of your argument.
You should be profoundly ashamed for choosing this path of malicious
exaggeration phrased as an attack on the work of fellow developers.  It
was completely unbecoming of a Debian project member.

--
Russ Allbery ([hidden email])               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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Re: Censorship in Debian

Daniel Pocock-4
On 20/12/18 22:14, Russ Allbery wrote:

> Daniel Pocock <[hidden email]> writes:
>
>> I was recently at the UN forum on business and human rights, listening
>> to an Iranian dissident talk[1] about the extremes that his country goes
>> to in censoring and silencing people who don't agree with their rulers. 
>> I would encourage people to watch the video.
>> At that very same moment, the anti-harassment team were censoring[2] a
>> Debian Developer's blog from Planet Debian.  Chilling.
>> I actually looked at Planet shortly after attending that panel
>> discussion and immediately noticed that Norbert Preining[3] had been
>> censored.  Disappearances of Khashoggi[4] and Kamphuis[5] came to mind.
> Entirely apart from the merits of the rest of your discussion of whether
> the project should republish this blog using project resources, this

If people want to clarify the way Planet can be used, they can create a
policy and maybe put it to a vote.  Retrospectively sanctioning people
without strong grounds based on policy is not right though.

People may expect a newsletter or another official publication to be
curated to some degree but I always had the impression that both Planet
and packaging are at the discretion of the individual developers. 
Personally, I welcome the diversity of views there and if it is going to
be curated now, I would volunteer to host an uncensored alternative to
Planet for those with similar feelings.

> framing is appalling and blatantly dishonest.  It intentionally conflates
> issues of government censorship and journalistic freedom that have cost
> people their lives with a dispute over whether Debian should *republish*
> content that has not been censored, restricted, or removed in any way, let
> alone been subject to threats of physical violence.
>
> I object in the strongest possible terms to this framing of your argument.
> You should be profoundly ashamed for choosing this path of malicious
> exaggeration phrased as an attack on the work of fellow developers.  It
> was completely unbecoming of a Debian project member.
>
and I reply with the strongest possible evidence, personal experience
and scientific research.

Having been rear ended by a utility van, thrown off a motorbike half way
across a roundabout and having also received abusive and threatening
messages from people within the Debian community, I feel that the
physical pain caused by the latter was more than the former.  Those
people should be ashamed of themselves.

Research confirms[1] this phenomenon.

If people want to pursue an anti-harassment objective in good faith,
then please start by realizing the existing team and their approach
needs careful examination, they need to make it a priority to put at the
front of their mind the welfare of every single person they come into
contact with, even if they don't understand or can't related to that
person's behaviour and they probably need to engage outside expertise
both for the benefit of the community and their own state of mind.

Regards,

Daniel


1.
https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/roger-covin/cyber-bullying-suicide_b_3996518.html


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Re: Censorship in Debian

Russ Allbery-2
Daniel Pocock <[hidden email]> writes:

> and I reply with the strongest possible evidence, personal experience
> and scientific research.

You decided to distort a political issue that many of us feel strongly
about to attack a policy around what to republish in project-owned forums,
which is only on a continuum with that issue if you look for it with a
telescope.  You did this in a way designed to provoke strong feelings and
create moral absolutes rather than start a conversation, and you did this
knowing full well that you were attacking a specific team inside Debian
composed, like all Debian teams, of overworked volunteer members.  You did
this without the slightest attempt to extend an assumption of good will or
allow for the possibility there are further things going on that you don't
know about, and you did so with such pathetically sloppy and incomplete
research that even *I* know you are leaving out substantial background,
and I haven't been trying to follow this saga.

In other words, you immediately turned the temperature up as high as you
could go and called on other people to attack your fellow Debian
developers on the grounds that their work is a violation of UN-recognized
human rights (!!).

That you cannot understand how completely absurd this is means that it is
futile to try to argue this point with you on the merits.

There *is* an underlying project debate here that is a real debate, namely
the rules for participation and republication in project forums.  I think
it's a debate we've had to the point of absurdity, but I'm not horribly
surprised that people want to still have it, and if that had been all your
message had been, I would have sit on my hands and not added to the noise.

But you saw an opportunity to artificially strengthen your debate stance
by comparing the Debian anti-harassment team to assassins (!!) and you
seem completely oblivious to why this is utterly unacceptable in
collective discussion within a project of colleagues, peers, and friends.

I have no idea personally what set off Norbert's removal from Planet
Debian.  When I said irrespective of the merits of your argument, I really
meant that.  But *this* bothers me far more: this kind of brutal approach
to Debian politics is hostile, nasty, and deeply hurtful to the project.

If you want to have a debate about the decision of a team in Debian, you
have an obligation to the project to conduct that debate with a certain
basic level of mutual respect.  Asking you to not compare your fellow
project members to assassins does not seem like a high bar!  If you aren't
going to do that, I for one am quite happy to make this argument about
*your* behavior, which was appalling and utterly toxic to supporting the
community of a volunteer collective project.

> Having been rear ended by a utility van, thrown off a motorbike half way
> across a roundabout and having also received abusive and threatening
> messages from people within the Debian community, I feel that the
> physical pain caused by the latter was more than the former.  Those
> people should be ashamed of themselves.

Yeah, no shit.  Your lack of awareness that *you* are that person who
should be ashamed of yourself because that's what *you* just did is
honestly mind-blowing.

--
Russ Allbery ([hidden email])               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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Re: Censorship in Debian

Daniel Pocock-4
On 20/12/18 23:46, Russ Allbery wrote:

> Daniel Pocock <[hidden email]> writes:
>
>> and I reply with the strongest possible evidence, personal experience
>> and scientific research.
> You decided to distort a political issue that many of us feel strongly
> about to attack a policy around what to republish in project-owned forums,
> which is only on a continuum with that issue if you look for it with a
> telescope.  You did this in a way designed to provoke strong feelings and
> create moral absolutes rather than start a conversation, and you did this
> knowing full well that you were attacking a specific team inside Debian
> composed, like all Debian teams, of overworked volunteer members.  You did

Please don't misrepresent me like that.  I am not calling on anybody to
attack any team, I'm calling on people to be assertive in defending
Norbert and other individuals who have been singled out.

> this without the slightest attempt to extend an assumption of good will or
> allow for the possibility there are further things going on that you don't
> know about, and you did so with such pathetically sloppy and incomplete


The fact that people don't know about certain things going on suggests
the project leadership is deviating from the social contract.  Let's get
the policy about Planet in the open or choose to have two Planets, e.g.
"planet-curated.debian.org" and "planet-uncensored.debian.org" and each
person can choose which one they want to read.


> research that even *I* know you are leaving out substantial background,
> and I haven't been trying to follow this saga.
>
> In other words, you immediately turned the temperature up as high as you
> could go and called on other people to attack your fellow Debian
> developers on the grounds that their work is a violation of UN-recognized
> human rights (!!).

Other people have chosen to turn up the temperature.  I felt my post was
both restrained and lukewarm in comparison.

I can see that this has been both shocking and surprising to some people
and I sincerely regret that.  I would ask you to consider it from my
point of view and from some of the abusive communications I have
received recently, they are the things that have established my frame or
reference right now.


>
> That you cannot understand how completely absurd this is means that it is
> futile to try to argue this point with you on the merits.
>
> There *is* an underlying project debate here that is a real debate, namely
> the rules for participation and republication in project forums.  I think
> it's a debate we've had to the point of absurdity, but I'm not horribly
> surprised that people want to still have it, and if that had been all your
> message had been, I would have sit on my hands and not added to the noise.
>
> But you saw an opportunity to artificially strengthen your debate stance
> by comparing the Debian anti-harassment team to assassins (!!) and you
> seem completely oblivious to why this is utterly unacceptable in
> collective discussion within a project of colleagues, peers, and friends.

Without going into detail, the actions of certain figures over the last
3 months are in no way comparable to those of colleagues, peers or
friends.  The people who initiated those communications have set the
tone for this debate through their arrogance, impatience and ego, not me.


> I have no idea personally what set off Norbert's removal from Planet
> Debian.  When I said irrespective of the merits of your argument, I really
> meant that.  But *this* bothers me far more: this kind of brutal approach
> to Debian politics is hostile, nasty, and deeply hurtful to the project.


ditto for the messages certain people have sent to me and other volunteers.

Given my own personal circumstances this year, "deeply hurtful" is very
much an understatement when assessing certain communications I received,
especially considering their timing.


> If you want to have a debate about the decision of a team in Debian, you
> have an obligation to the project to conduct that debate with a certain
> basic level of mutual respect.  Asking you to not compare your fellow
> project members to assassins does not seem like a high bar!  If you aren't

The bar has been taken even lower than you think and I am not the one
who put it there.

It is in our social contract that we do not hide our problems but I
would ask people to forgive me for not laying out the sheer brutality of
it in all it's gory detail right now.  Doing so would compromise the
privacy of multiple people outside the project.

> going to do that, I for one am quite happy to make this argument about
> *your* behavior, which was appalling and utterly toxic to supporting the
> community of a volunteer collective project.

Please don't make this personal.  Notice I didn't choose to name people
individually.

>> Having been rear ended by a utility van, thrown off a motorbike half way
>> across a roundabout and having also received abusive and threatening
>> messages from people within the Debian community, I feel that the
>> physical pain caused by the latter was more than the former.  Those
>> people should be ashamed of themselves.
> Yeah, no shit.  Your lack of awareness that *you* are that person who
> should be ashamed of yourself because that's what *you* just did is
> honestly mind-blowing.
>
My message was to repudiate censorship and support Norbert, a call for
people to stand up is not the same as a call for people to abuse and
threaten any team in Debian.  I sincerely hope that people are assertive
about the facts and principles and not abusive in their responses.

As I said, my frame of reference right now has been largely established
by the communications I received from other people.

Regards,

Daniel


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Re: Censorship in Debian

Paul R. Tagliamonte-2
In reply to this post by Russ Allbery-2
I concur with Russ in the strongest of terms.

I, too have no idea why a blog was removed, but I think we absolutely
can and should if the post crosses lines.

We, as a group of individuals working on a project together with
shared resources working to maintain a constructive atmosphere must
never be conflated with a Government censoring speech.

We are not a Government. Please don't conflate Debian ensuring we have
a healthy community with Government censorship, and conflating a blog
being removed from project resources with the killing of a journalist.
It cheapens the death of those who are killed by repressive regimes
fighting for their freedoms.

   Paul

On Thu, Dec 20, 2018 at 6:46 PM Russ Allbery <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Daniel Pocock <[hidden email]> writes:
>
> > and I reply with the strongest possible evidence, personal experience
> > and scientific research.
>
> You decided to distort a political issue that many of us feel strongly
> about to attack a policy around what to republish in project-owned forums,
> which is only on a continuum with that issue if you look for it with a
> telescope.  You did this in a way designed to provoke strong feelings and
> create moral absolutes rather than start a conversation, and you did this
> knowing full well that you were attacking a specific team inside Debian
> composed, like all Debian teams, of overworked volunteer members.  You did
> this without the slightest attempt to extend an assumption of good will or
> allow for the possibility there are further things going on that you don't
> know about, and you did so with such pathetically sloppy and incomplete
> research that even *I* know you are leaving out substantial background,
> and I haven't been trying to follow this saga.
>
> In other words, you immediately turned the temperature up as high as you
> could go and called on other people to attack your fellow Debian
> developers on the grounds that their work is a violation of UN-recognized
> human rights (!!).
>
> That you cannot understand how completely absurd this is means that it is
> futile to try to argue this point with you on the merits.
>
> There *is* an underlying project debate here that is a real debate, namely
> the rules for participation and republication in project forums.  I think
> it's a debate we've had to the point of absurdity, but I'm not horribly
> surprised that people want to still have it, and if that had been all your
> message had been, I would have sit on my hands and not added to the noise.
>
> But you saw an opportunity to artificially strengthen your debate stance
> by comparing the Debian anti-harassment team to assassins (!!) and you
> seem completely oblivious to why this is utterly unacceptable in
> collective discussion within a project of colleagues, peers, and friends.
>
> I have no idea personally what set off Norbert's removal from Planet
> Debian.  When I said irrespective of the merits of your argument, I really
> meant that.  But *this* bothers me far more: this kind of brutal approach
> to Debian politics is hostile, nasty, and deeply hurtful to the project.
>
> If you want to have a debate about the decision of a team in Debian, you
> have an obligation to the project to conduct that debate with a certain
> basic level of mutual respect.  Asking you to not compare your fellow
> project members to assassins does not seem like a high bar!  If you aren't
> going to do that, I for one am quite happy to make this argument about
> *your* behavior, which was appalling and utterly toxic to supporting the
> community of a volunteer collective project.
>
> > Having been rear ended by a utility van, thrown off a motorbike half way
> > across a roundabout and having also received abusive and threatening
> > messages from people within the Debian community, I feel that the
> > physical pain caused by the latter was more than the former.  Those
> > people should be ashamed of themselves.
>
> Yeah, no shit.  Your lack of awareness that *you* are that person who
> should be ashamed of yourself because that's what *you* just did is
> honestly mind-blowing.
>
> --
> Russ Allbery ([hidden email])               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>
>


--
:wq

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Re: Censorship in Debian

Steve McIntyre
In reply to this post by Daniel Pocock-4
On Thu, Dec 20, 2018 at 11:18:51PM +0000, Daniel Pocock wrote:
>
>If people want to pursue an anti-harassment objective in good faith,
>then please start by realizing the existing team and their approach
>needs careful examination, they need to make it a priority to put at the
>front of their mind the welfare of every single person they come into
>contact with, even if they don't understand or can't related to that
>person's behaviour and they probably need to engage outside expertise
>both for the benefit of the community and their own state of mind.

Have you actually epoken to the anti-harassment team to enquire about
their actions and supporting evidence before calling their methods and
motivations into doubt here?

Also: not wishing to pile on, but I also believe that you linking
assassinations to the actions of the a-h team is downright toxic and
you should apologise.

--
Steve McIntyre, Cambridge, UK.                                [hidden email]
Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.

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Re: Censorship in Debian

Gunnar Wolf via nm
In reply to this post by Daniel Pocock-4
Daniel Pocock dijo [Thu, Dec 20, 2018 at 09:31:46PM +0000]:
> Hi all,

Hello Daniel,

I have to chime in here fully in support of what Russ, Steve and Paul
have said. Your message starts as inflammatory and as far as possible
from any attempt to cool down issues. It starts by accusing, by
likening incomparable issues.

> At that very same moment, the anti-harassment team were censoring[2] a
> Debian Developer's blog from Planet Debian.  Chilling.

Censorship is prohibiting you to speak your mind. Norbert is able to
speak his mind - Only not using Debian's name for it.

Why was his blog removed? Was it the post you link to? Or the several
posts where he discusses games? (are they free?) Or something
completely different? I do not know - But in any case, you should have
started by *knowing* what set off the a-h team for this decision.

> I actually looked at Planet shortly after attending that panel
> discussion and immediately noticed that Norbert Preining[3] had been
> censored.  Disappearances of Khashoggi[4] and Kamphuis[5] came to mind.

An assassination committed in a diplomatic legation with possible
involvement of the highest possible authority in a nation, or even the
murder of a person by unknown people and a country refusing to further
pursue the investigation on the issue, are in any way comparable to
kicking a blog out from an aggregator?

Please take a couple of deep breaths. Inflating the issue so much is
not helping the cause you are trying to push. Just the opposite.

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Re: Censorship in Debian

Adam Borowski-3
In reply to this post by Russ Allbery-2
On Thu, Dec 20, 2018 at 02:14:46PM -0800, Russ Allbery wrote:

> Daniel Pocock <[hidden email]> writes:
>
> > I was recently at the UN forum on business and human rights, listening
> > to an Iranian dissident talk[1] about the extremes that his country goes
> > to in censoring and silencing people who don't agree with their rulers. 
> > I would encourage people to watch the video.
>
> > At that very same moment, the anti-harassment team were censoring[2] a
> > Debian Developer's blog from Planet Debian.  Chilling.
>
> > I actually looked at Planet shortly after attending that panel
> > discussion and immediately noticed that Norbert Preining[3] had been
> > censored.  Disappearances of Khashoggi[4] and Kamphuis[5] came to mind.
>
> Entirely apart from the merits of the rest of your discussion of whether
> the project should republish this blog using project resources, this
> framing is appalling and blatantly dishonest.  It intentionally conflates
> issues of government censorship and journalistic freedom that have cost
> people their lives with a dispute over whether Debian should *republish*
> content that has not been censored, restricted, or removed in any way, let
> alone been subject to threats of physical violence.
>
> I object in the strongest possible terms to this framing of your argument.
> You should be profoundly ashamed for choosing this path of malicious
> exaggeration phrased as an attack on the work of fellow developers.  It
> was completely unbecoming of a Debian project member.

Thank you for illustrating so well why Daniel's words were spot on.  Your
response is exactly why censorship must not be tolerated in Debian.


--
⢀⣴⠾⠻⢶⣦⠀
⣾⠁⢠⠒⠀⣿⡁ Ivan was a worldly man: born in St. Petersburg, raised in
⢿⡄⠘⠷⠚⠋⠀ Petrograd, lived most of his life in Leningrad, then returned
⠈⠳⣄⠀⠀⠀⠀ to the city of his birth to die.

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Re: Censorship in Debian

Eldon Koyle
In reply to this post by Russ Allbery-2
On Thu, Dec 20, 2018 at 4:46 PM Russ Allbery <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Daniel Pocock <[hidden email]> writes:
>
> > and I reply with the strongest possible evidence, personal experience
> > and scientific research.
<snip>
> In other words, you immediately turned the temperature up as high as you
> could go and called on other people to attack your fellow Debian
> developers on the grounds that their work is a violation of UN-recognized
> human rights (!!).

I think this response was as much an escalation as the initial post.

Daniel, have you contacted the anti-harassment team about the abuse you
have experienced?

<snip>
> I have no idea personally what set off Norbert's removal from Planet
> Debian.  When I said irrespective of the merits of your argument, I really
> meant that.  But *this* bothers me far more: this kind of brutal approach
> to Debian politics is hostile, nasty, and deeply hurtful to the project.

I think this is probably where we should have started.  The initial removal was
by Chris Lamb for "referring to Sage Sharp as an 'it'" in one of his
posts [1].  It
appears that was replaced with "their", which Norbert believed was sufficient to
have his blog re-added, and Chris reverted the commit a few days later.  I think
Chris handled it very well by documenting the issue and providing evidence.

Later, the blog was removed again [2][3] and again[4] by anti-harassment team
members citing an "anti-harassment team decision".  There is no indication of
how much interaction there was with Norbert on the decision (if any).

I think the heart of the issue is that the removal is public, but the
reason does not
appear to be.  Perhaps we need more transparency as to the why when the
anti-harassment team makes a decision as drastic as removing content, along
with the evidence?  Then, at least we could know what we are arguing about here.

AFAICT, rule number 2 ("try not to annoy people")[5] for planet debian could be
the justification for removal (I'm assuming the issue at hand is the same post
that caused the initial removal, but I don't see it referenced in his
blog feed[6]
anymore).  A cursory glance at the feed didn't yield anything appalling to my
sensibilities, but I'm not good at finding a single offensive word in an entire
blog.

<snip>
> > Having been rear ended by a utility van, thrown off a motorbike half way
> > across a roundabout and having also received abusive and threatening
> > messages from people within the Debian community, I feel that the
> > physical pain caused by the latter was more than the former.  Those
> > people should be ashamed of themselves.
>
> Yeah, no shit.  Your lack of awareness that *you* are that person who
> should be ashamed of yourself because that's what *you* just did is
> honestly mind-blowing.

Bad behavior does not condone more bad behavior.  This comment seems
a little mean-spirited.  It is OK to disagree with how he brought his issue up,
but being abusive to someone because you think they were abusive just
makes the problem worse.

A lot of technical people are not that great with social interaction
(I believe it is
the reason many people are drawn to those fields; for me computers are more
predictable than people).  I think we would do ourselves a great disservice by
not recognizing this and just pushing people away for the crime of not knowing
how to interact with others.  We should be teaching them instead, by example
if nothing else.

[1] https://salsa.debian.org/planet-team/config/commit/216930f1f3f906ef4cc28457b94d10ba844e3074
[2] https://salsa.debian.org/planet-team/config/commit/99662c1548fac57813e5288002e3c6eeccf25ec6
[3] https://salsa.debian.org/planet-team/config/commit/d2d7125b53dc4a2e832a5780013e29518c2420bc
[4] https://salsa.debian.org/planet-team/config/commit/04651823388de3a573d25158b2d59dce62a24540
[5] https://wiki.debian.org/PlanetDebian
[6] http://www.preining.info/blog/feed/?lang=en

--
Eldon Koyle

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Re: Censorship in Debian

Jonathan Dowland
In reply to this post by Daniel Pocock-4
I agree with Russ that your framing of this is absolutely abhorrent.
Your continued justification of it is digging a bigger hole. I beg you,
please take a step back and reconsider your approach here before
continuing along these lines.

I actually have concerns about Norbert's blog being removed from Planet
and the level of transparency of the Anti-Harrassment team (although
Martin's recent mail to d-d-a addressed most of my concerns on the
latter front). I think it's perfectly fine to question their actions
and I intended to write a private email to their contact address in the
first instance; raising it on -project is another valid approach. But
drawing comparisons between your fellow project members and literal
murderers is absolutely not acceptable.

I'm actually really annoyed because now I don't feel we can have a
reasonable discussion about Norbert's blog at all without the taint
of this thread hanging over it.

With friends like these…

On Thu, Dec 20, 2018 at 11:18:51PM +0000, Daniel Pocock wrote:
>If people want to clarify the way Planet can be used, they can create a
>policy and maybe put it to a vote.  Retrospectively sanctioning people
>without strong grounds based on policy is not right though.

I don't think the policy for Planet is the issue here. It's well
defined and has been operating for a very long time now.

>People may expect a newsletter or another official publication to be
>curated to some degree but I always had the impression that both Planet
>and packaging are at the discretion of the individual developers.

I feel embarrassed for your AM. We have always been bound by the terms
of the Social Contract in all that we do for the project. Planet is no
different.

>Personally, I welcome the diversity of views there and if it is going to
>be curated now, I would volunteer to host an uncensored alternative to
>Planet for those with similar feelings.

I encourage you to host a Planet of your own with whatever policy you
like. Really: please go and do that. But not in the name of the project.

>and I reply with the strongest possible evidence, personal experience
>and scientific research.

This (and what you write that follows) seems like a whip-lash response
if I'm being charitable, and like a deliberate attempt to confound the
discussion if I briefly suspend "assume good faith". You should take
your situation ot the anti harrassment team.


--

⢀⣴⠾⠻⢶⣦⠀
⣾⠁⢠⠒⠀⣿⡁ Jonathan Dowland
⢿⡄⠘⠷⠚⠋⠀ https://jmtd.net
⠈⠳⣄⠀⠀⠀⠀ Please do not CC me, I am subscribed to the list.

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Re: Censorship in Debian

Daniel Pocock-4
In reply to this post by Steve McIntyre
On 21/12/18 00:48, Steve McIntyre wrote:

> On Thu, Dec 20, 2018 at 11:18:51PM +0000, Daniel Pocock wrote:
>> If people want to pursue an anti-harassment objective in good faith,
>> then please start by realizing the existing team and their approach
>> needs careful examination, they need to make it a priority to put at the
>> front of their mind the welfare of every single person they come into
>> contact with, even if they don't understand or can't related to that
>> person's behaviour and they probably need to engage outside expertise
>> both for the benefit of the community and their own state of mind.
> Have you actually epoken to the anti-harassment team to enquire about
> their actions and supporting evidence before calling their methods and
> motivations into doubt here?

I've read their reports and made various observations.  As I was also in
a representative role in another organisation, I also received reports
of various kinds from time to time so I empathize with some of the
challenges they face.

Putting the evidence I've seen in a public list would be disrespectful
and a breach of trust.  Nonetheless, I confirm to the community that I
have seen enough (and I'm not referring to any communication they sent
about my own participation) to feel that some people are being left with
an unnecessarily bad feeling after interactions with the team and that
is a risk to the project.

> Also: not wishing to pile on, but I also believe that you linking
> assassinations to the actions of the a-h team is downright toxic and
> you should apologise.
>

I regret that people are focusing on that comment and a-h alone.

Nonetheless, the strength of my concern is the same.  Putting it in
perspective, in July, I indicated privately to the leader of our
project, Chris Lamb and also to Google that some extraordinary personal
circumstances had an adverse impact on my role as a mentor in GSoC this
year.  Google suggested simply taking a rest from the program, which was
hardly unreasonable in the circumstances, while the DPL became
frustrated, started making disparaging comments to other people about my
competence and I feel he has become increasingly vindictive towards me
in private.  A-H have seen some of that and done nothing to intervene.

Given those recent circumstances, which I have every right not to
discuss on a public list, there is probably nothing more extreme,
callous and harmful that Debian could do than removing my key from the
keyring on the night before what was the anniversary of being married
(in the civil sense).  Somebody then slapped it in my face again with an
offensive post on Planet the night before my birthday.  Norbert's post
to planet barely comes close to something like that.

If this project, through its leader, can be so out of touch with human
decency to treat a developer with such extraordinary disrespect and
contempt at a time like that then please don't groan too soon at my own
reactions to the latest goings on.

Notice that all of the above took place more than two months after the
original disclosure I made to the DPL but just days after SPI confirmed
receipt of $17,000 from Google, in other words, giving me the feeling
that Debian (or simply Lamb) had deliberately exploited and used me
until all GSoC loose ends were tied up and then put me out with the trash.

At a time when a remotely normal community might have showed some
compassion and support, Debian/Lamb continue to sustain this state of
hostility, forcing me to recall all of the above on a daily basis for a
number of months now.  So I apologize if my own communications might
have become a reflection of those very low standards of leadership that
I encountered here.

When I see the possibility that other members of the community are being
trampled on now, I simply assume the leadership is getting it wrong
again.  I would hate for anybody else to be put through what Lamb has
done in my situation.

Regards,

Daniel



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Re: Censorship in Debian

Raphael Hertzog-3
In reply to this post by Adam Borowski-3
Hi,

On Fri, 21 Dec 2018, Adam Borowski wrote:
> Thank you for illustrating so well why Daniel's words were spot on.  Your
> response is exactly why censorship must not be tolerated in Debian.

Such a message is not constructive and actually hurts any further
discussion. First of all, while it may be obvious to you, I don't see
in what way Russ's response "illustrates Daniel's word". But I'm not
sure that I want to read your justification, you seem to have a very
low level of empathy for other persons' feelings.

Anyway, nobody has been censored here. It looks like some people including
Norbert and Daniel have had inappropriate behavior that have been reported
to the anti-harassment team. That team made decisions and acted, even in
coordination with the Debian Account Managers.

The persons who are the target of those actions have received a detailed
explanation of the actions taken and of their justification. AFAIK they
are free to publish the details if they wish to. But the policiy of the
anti-harassment team is to not publicly shame people so they don't do that
themselves.

Norbert seems to have stepped back in response:
https://lists.debian.org/debian-tex-maint/2018/12/msg00019.html

Daniel seems to not follow the same route, instead he seems to engage
in some public mud-fight. This has never been successful in the past.
It reminds me of the case of Sven Luther. But it's always a painful
experience for all parties.

So pretty please, to all the followers, think twice before engaging
in this discussion and re-read any message twice before sending it.

Thank you.
--
Raphaël Hertzog ◈ Debian Developer

Support Debian LTS: https://www.freexian.com/services/debian-lts.html
Learn to master Debian: https://debian-handbook.info/get/

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Re: Censorship in Debian

Martin Steigerwald
In reply to this post by Russ Allbery-2
Dear Russ, dear Daniel.

Russ Allbery - 21.12.18, 00:46:
> > Having been rear ended by a utility van, thrown off a motorbike half
> > way across a roundabout and having also received abusive and
> > threatening messages from people within the Debian community, I
> > feel that the physical pain caused by the latter was more than the
> > former.  Those people should be ashamed of themselves.
>
> Yeah, no shit.  Your lack of awareness that *you* are that person who
> should be ashamed of yourself because that's what *you* just did is
> honestly mind-blowing.

Healing starts when each other stops blaming each other. Blaming each
other just locks what is in place and starts a spiral of heated
discussion that causes harm and suffering.

The most important ingredients for relationships that actually work out
for me are:

1) Mutuality.

2) Harmlessness.

No one needs to be ashamed here. *It is no one's fault.*

Is there something to clear up? Definitely. But is it no one's fault.

It is different ways to see how we interact which each other and different
ways to argue which each other. None of it inherently right or wrong.
Just *different*.

What if, just what if each one of you has a completely valid point? What
if, just what if no one of you is right or wrong? What happens when
starting to stop wronging the apparent other?

Or even simpler: What would love do now?

I highly recommend to look inside and letting go the need of having to
respond immediately. I totally get that it can be challenging. I
experienced that need often enough. Yet I still highly recommend it.

Have a wonderful, peaceful holiday time however you choose to celebrate
it.

Best.
--
Martin


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Re: Censorship in Debian

Chris Lamb -2
In reply to this post by Daniel Pocock-4
Daniel Pocock wrote:

> the DPL became frustrated, started making disparaging comments to
> other people about my competence and I feel he has become increasingly
> vindictive towards me in private. A-H have seen some of that and done
> nothing to intervene.
[…]
> If this project, through its leader, can be so out of touch with human
> decency to treat a developer with such extraordinary disrespect and
> contempt
[…]
> giving me the feeling that Debian (or simply Lamb) had deliberately
> exploited and used me until all GSoC loose ends were tied up and then
> put me out with the trash.
[…]
> I would hate for anybody else to be put through what Lamb has
> done in my situation.

Whilst I was intending to follow Raphael's advice regarding engaging
in this discussion I am unfortunately compelled to provide some
response.

I was deeply saddened and confused to read your message given the
amount of time and energy we have expended in interacting so
constructively over the years. It came as quite a surprise.

Unfortunately, what you wrote is — at best — an entirely misleading
characterisation of the situation.

I am further disappointed that you took an approach that could
regrettably be considered as manipulative. You are well-aware that I
have been nothing but scrupulous and gentlemanly with regards to your
personal privacy and thus I would refuse to cite any outside or
otherwise offer any objective rebuttals to your claims on a public
forum.

However, for the avoidance of all doubt, I repudiate your suggestions
in the strongest possible terms and I cordially invite you to withdraw
your statements.

In the interests of reducing the temperature I will refrain from any
further participation in this thread. I genuinely wish you all the
best in what you are looking for.


Regards,

--
      ,''`.
     : :'  :     Chris Lamb
     `. `'`      [hidden email] / chris-lamb.co.uk
       `-

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Re: Censorship in Debian

Geert Stappers-2
In reply to this post by Daniel Pocock-4
      [ ... ]
> started making disparaging comments to other people about my
> competence and I feel he has become increasingly vindictive towards me
> in private. A-H have seen some of that and done nothing to intervene.

Consider to send proof of it to  -private@ldo.



Your fellow DD
who would like / should spent energy elsewhere then this (stinky) situation.

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Re: Censorship in Debian

Josh Triplett-9
In reply to this post by Daniel Pocock-4
Daniel Pocock wrote:
> Putting the evidence I've seen in a public list would be disrespectful
> and a breach of trust. Nonetheless, I confirm to the community that I
> have seen enough

Then you are being hypocritical by decrying the anti-harrassment team
for keeping reports confidential, and by not extending them the same
trust you expect others to grant you.

I would applaud the anti-harassment team for being as transparent as
they are while respecting the privacy of both reporters and of reported
people (who might manage to improve in the future). And beyond that, as
I understand it, those who are reported and have actions taken to limit
their damage are given plenty of information on the nature of the
offense. What they choose to do with that information is up to them.

Steve McIntyre wrote:
> Also: not wishing to pile on, but I also believe that you linking
> assassinations to the actions of the a-h team is downright toxic and
> you should apologise.
(Agreed.)

Daniel Pocock wrote:
> I regret that people are focusing on that comment and a-h alone.

That is not only not an apology, it's an attempt to shift blame onto
others.

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Re: Censorship in Debian

Bernd Zeimetz
In reply to this post by Raphael Hertzog-3


On 12/21/18 10:02 AM, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> Norbert seems to have stepped back in response:
> https://lists.debian.org/debian-tex-maint/2018/12/msg00019.html

Getting your DD rights being removed from DAM is probably not what you
would call a step back in your free will. He was forced to do so.


--
 Bernd Zeimetz                            Debian GNU/Linux Developer
 http://bzed.de                                http://www.debian.org
 GPG Fingerprint: ECA1 E3F2 8E11 2432 D485  DD95 EB36 171A 6FF9 435F

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Re: Censorship in Debian

Marcin Kulisz (kuLa)
On 2018-12-23 20:58:08, Bernd Zeimetz wrote:
>
>
> On 12/21/18 10:02 AM, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> > Norbert seems to have stepped back in response:
> > https://lists.debian.org/debian-tex-maint/2018/12/msg00019.html
>
> Getting your DD rights being removed from DAM is probably not what you
> would call a step back in your free will. He was forced to do so.

I didn't know about that and I have to say it makes me feel disturbed, a big
time, and yes I'm aware of the most of this story.

I wrote a bit longer post but looks like I kind of self censored it and this is
not making me happy either.
--

|_|0|_|                                                  |
|_|_|0|                  "Panta rei"                     |
|0|0|0|             -------- kuLa --------               |

gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys 0x686930DD58C338B3
3DF1  A4DF  C732  4688  38BC  F121  6869  30DD  58C3  38B3

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