09.07.20

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‘Blacklists’ in Free Software Communities

Posted in Debian, Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 10:47 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

Have you ever caught somebody in the act, committing an act of character assassination?

Most of us simply couldn’t imagine writing an email like the example below about a fellow volunteer. Maybe that’s why people are fighting tooth and nail to keep independent candidates from running for Debian Project Leader.

But it now appears that there has been more than one case where a member of the Debian community has been betrayed like this by the leader.

The defamatory part of the email received by other community members has been redacted:

debian smear

Given the personal circumstances this volunteer had recently informed Lamb about, sending this type of message is completely unconscionable, especially for somebody in a trusted position of leadership.

The monumental breach of trust compromises the privacy of multiple people, some of them never had any interaction with the Debian Project.

How would you feel if you were the one stumbling into the fallout zone of Lamb’s email vendetta at Christmas?

When Enrico Zini of the Debian Account Managers team was asked about messages like this being sent, he replied:

No, we did not send any communication about this to —–, and this is getting ridiculous.

Integrity is priceless.

Why did Lamb have no time to meet with people he targetted, despite numerous requests but all the time in the world to send malicious emails?

When Lamb rides off into the sunset without apologizing or retracting harmful emails he sent as leader, does the new DPL inherit responsibility for Lamb’s actions? When people who hurt volunteers like this come face to face with their targets at a free software event, who would want to be anywhere near them? Or could the toxic consequences of this hurtful behavior be the reason nobody else wants to wear the DPL hat and nobody else nominated?

Does this type of behavior make you feel good about contributing to a large free software project?

This email and the emails Lamb sent personally had one purpose: to create shame and fear. Tools of oppression. Fear that people who speak up or ask questions will have their name dragged through the mud. Many developers comment privately they are afraid to speak up now because they don’t want to be abused next, they don’t want to be on some blacklist. What a chilling thought, blacklists in free software communities.

The fact that the only replies to an independent platform on debian-vote smell of bullying and not one point from the platform has been discussed proves the fear culture is working as intended.

Thanks to all those people who have continued to inform volunteers privately when they witnessed so-called leaders behaving badly like this.

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