EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

09.13.20

Blackmail Tactics for Productivity and Coercion

Posted in Debian, Deception, GNU/Linux at 9:44 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

DebConf going online in 2020 doesn’t mean we can’t have the full experience. Yesterday, we began with the foreplay of plotting defamation with Erinn Clark and today we move on to a full-blown DebConfs orgy of hypocrisy.

Lunar (Jérémy Bobbio) is one volunteer who wrote about experiences with Jacob Appelbaum on the debian-private (leaked) gossip network. Here is what he had to say:

Subject: Re: Jacob Appelbaum and harrassement
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2016 18:39:28 +0200
From: Jérémy Bobbio <lunar@debian.org>
To: debian-private@lists.debian.org

... snip ...

I can personally vouch for 2 of the stories on the website. I also have
direct experience of Jake playing with people's boundaries, mine
included since I first met him in Florence four years ago.

-- 
Lunar    .''`. lunar@debian.org  : :Ⓐ  :
        `. `'`                     `-   
# apt-get install anarchism

We don’t want to diminish the experiences of any actual victims of abuse. On the other hand, we don’t feel that Lunar’s very brief message on debian-private is sufficient evidence to destroy the career of another volunteer.

Playing with boundaries is very ambiguous. It can mean anything you want really. If a complete stranger plays with your boundaries on public transport, that is completely unacceptable and hopefully leads to the confiscation of your child pornography collection, which is apparently a more serious punishment than jail for some people.

On the other hand, in an environment where people choose to mix their professional and social lives, comments like that need to be considered in context to understand correctly. For example, if everybody gets high on drugs and loses track of the boundaries, why should only one participant be singled out for a public flogging? In these events, are yes and no always black and white or are we talking about situations with 250 shades of gray?

In fact, we have the same dilemma when considering the case of Dr Norbert Preining. Molly de Blanc’s anti-harassment hit squad sent Dr Preining that ridiculous long list of accusations days before Christmas. Outsiders may raise their eyebrows at some of Dr Preining’s comments. Yet when you consider he is not a native English speaker and you peruse the things Debian Developers have been writing in debian-private, you find there was nothing unusual about Dr Preining’s writing style in the context of Debian behavior. If anything, exposure to the Debian community lowers everybody’s standards by a similar amount.

Let’s get back to that difficult question of boundaries and hear from the expert on community, Molly de Blanc. de Blanc got her Debian Developer certificate while dating Debian Project Leader Chris Lamb (a.k.a. Mollamby) and with that in hand, she was nominated to become president of the OSI. In Molly’s own words, taken from FrOSCon 2019, she demonstrates the incredibly limited extent of her leadership skills:

Well we can use our collective power to push others

de Blanc has even provided a cute drawing. Does this look like pushing somebody’s boundaries? At three-to-one odds, it could be alluding to gang rape.

Molly de Blanc, pushing volunteers, pushing boundaries, bullying, cyberbullying, enforcement

“Push others”, Copyright (C) 2019 Molly de Blanc

What happened when a Debian mentor pushed their GSoC intern to work up to the last day and didn’t pay them? Other mentors and admins suggested asking Google. de Blanc didn’t want to push Google though, maybe they are too big for her:

Subject: Re: Revaluation appeal for [redacted/name of intern]

Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2018 11:35:10 -0700

From: Molly de Blanc <deblanc@riseup.net>



Hi Team,



Google has already spent a lot of resources reviewing code from Debian

participants. We should think very carefully before asking them to do

any more.



Cheers,

Molly

molly de blanc, toxic woman, toxic person, debian, open source, fsf, free software, gsoc, outreachy, payment, unpaid

The intern spent three months on a project, de Blanc, who is not a developer, didn’t look at it and didn’t think it was worth writing more than two lines about the matter. de Blanc rarely appears to push herself as much as she pushes others.

de Blanc is only willing to push people who are smaller or outnumbered. In Molly’s world, freelancers, employees of small companies, students and interns can be pushed, but not Molly and not Google. de Blanc is not interested in pushing companies like Google and Microsoft, especially when they give her treats to help exert influence.

Looking at the Jacob Appelbaum allegations again, somebody tweeted that he had used their work in 2007 without properly crediting them in a research paper. This is a serious issue in the academic world. Nonetheless, we can see exactly the same behavior in Debian: multiple people have been removed from the list of Debian Developers, while Debian continues to distribute their work and take credit for it. The most blatant example of this was Dr Preining, who was told to keep working as a Debian Maintainer, like an apprentice, but he wouldn’t be credited for his work as a Debian Developer. Ironically, the software that Dr Preining packages is the LaTeX software. This is the same software that is typically used to format the academic research papers that Jacob Appelbaum is accused of creating from other people’s work. How could Debian deny Dr Preining full and proper credit for his work while adding weight to accusations of plagiarism against another volunteer, Appelbaum?

It is not clear if the tweet about plagiarism is noteworthy. Genuine mistakes with crediting authors are not unprecedented and are usually fixed behind the scenes by releasing an updated copy of the paper and a thank-you note on a blog. Many of the Appelbaum allegations are simply misunderstandings that have been hyped by the media, who went into a feeding frenzy over stories of orgies in his apartment.

Back into the domain of pushing people’s boundaries, as alleged by Lunar, when you read the self-deprecating confession-apology that Dr Preining wrote, it should be clear that this was not written spontaneously and under his own free will: in Debian, consent is rarely taken seriously. Dr Preining’s boundaries were pushed by three months of blackmail. This almost looks like it was written for him and he didn’t have any choice whether to send it or not:

I also will take care to listen carefully to advice and corrections,

In cooperation with DAM – and the invaluable help of some fellow DDs -
we have reached the agreement about my further status. DAM will write
about this in a separate email outlining the agreement and consequences.

Absolutely chilling.

We hope this orgy of hypocrisy has made it clear. When we evaluate behavior against Debian’s own standards, the behavior of the people accused is relatively tame compared to the behavior of project leadership. If the leader’s girlfriend can stand up at a conference and boast about pushing people to do things she won’t do herself, how can the same people accuse Appelbaum of pushing to get what he wants?

Note to victims of abuse: in the first instance, we suggest you seek assistance from a competent person close to where you live. We do not recommend seeking help in free software communities, debian-private and other gossip networks. We welcome reports of abuse to help us corroborate stories but we do not disclose any private information.

molly de blanc, bondage, oppression, volunteers, debian

Slides above chosen by Molly de Blanc to show how she wants to coerce volunteers using pressure and punishments.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

What Else is New


  1. Links 21/9/2020: PlasmaShell With Vulkan, Plasma Beta Review Day, OpenMediaVault 5.5.11

    Links for the day



  2. Guest Post: The Worrying State of Political Judgement in Free Software Communities

    A look at what Mozilla has become and what that teaches us about the Web and about software



  3. Links 21/9/2020: KTechLab 0.50.0, Linux 5.9 RC6

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, September 20, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, September 20, 2020



  5. Git is Free Software, GitHub is Proprietary Trap

    More and more people all around the world understand that putting their fruit of labour in Microsoft's proprietary (but 'free') prison is misguided; the only vault they have is for human beings, not code



  6. Daniel Pocock on Codes of Conduct and Their Potential Dangers in Practice

    In Debian we’ve already witnessed several examples where Codes of Conduct, if put in the wrong hands (in the Linux Foundation it’s corporate hands), can achieve the very opposite of their intended goal and its a true shame as well as a travesty for legitimate victims of real abuse



  7. Links 20/9/2020: Flameshot Screenshot Tool 0.8, Okular Improvements and More

    Links for the day



  8. Reminder: Vice Chair of the Linux Foundation's Board is an Oracle Executive Who Used to Work for Microsoft

    The Linux Foundation issued statements to the effect of opposing Donald Trump, but its current leadership (people from companies like Oracle, Microsoft and IBM) is a strong proponent of doing as much business as possible with Trump (even in violation of international law)



  9. [Meme] How to Hijack Linux and Free Software to Make Them Proprietary and Microsoft-Controlled

    Intel keeps outsourcing almost everything (that's not proprietary with back doors, e.g. ME) to Microsoft's proprietary software prison, known as GitHub; to make matters worse, Intel now uses the Microsoft-hosted Rust to develop in Microsoft servers, along with Microsoft, code that promotes Microsoft proprietary software (e.g. Hyper-V) and non-standard 'extensions'.



  10. DDOS Attacks Against Us Lately

    (Distributed) Denial-of-service attacks or DDOS attacks have slowed down the site, but we treat that as evidence of suppression and fear (of what's to come and what was recently published), or accuracy (in reporting) rather than inaccuracy



  11. [Meme] Windows as Dead Man Walking (Patches Accelerate the Death)

    Microsoft is squeezing whatever life is left in its “burning platform” (which is already exceeded in terms of market share by Android) that has a "burning" (bricked) WSL with barely any users and plenty of critical problems



  12. We Let Them Get Away With Murder, But They Make up for It by Banning Words

    The Microsoft propaganda machines (notably ZDNet this weekend) are busy portraying Microsoft as a “good company” for censoring words, never mind the actual, meaningful, substantial actions of Microsoft, which is boosting authoritarian people who imprison even babies (for the ‘crime’ of being on the ‘wrong’ side of the border)



  13. High-Profile and Invalid (Invalidated) European Patents Harm the Presumption of Validity of European Patents

    The EPO's 'printing machine' (over-producing patent monopolies) is harming the legal certainty associated with such patents, helping nobody but deep-pocketed monopolists and law firms



  14. Epitaph for (Death of) Patent-Centric Media: Litigation Giant Bird &amp; Bird Nowadays Doing Ads as 'Podcasts' in Think Tank Site 'Managing IP'

    Publishers don't hesitate and openly revel in taking bribes as if it's a badge of honour or importance, allowing themselves to be profoundly corrupted in pursuit of quick cash; we discuss what's happening in sites that pretend to cover patent news (but actually drive agenda of litigation giants, to the detriment of actual innovators)



  15. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, September 19, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, September 19, 2020



  16. Links 20/9/2020: 4MLinux 34.0 Released, September Release and EndeavourOS for ARM

    Links for the day



  17. Video: Free Communication With Free Software - Daniel Pocock - FOSSASIA Summit 2016

    The 2016 FOSSASIA talk from Daniel Pocock (Debian) about Free software alternatives to Google, Microsoft Skype and so on (Microsoft started paying Debian in 2016)



  18. [Meme] Microsoft Downtime... Now in 'Linux' (Wait a Month for Microsoft to Restore Uptime)

    Microsoft’s utter failure that is "WSL2" is bringing the failures Windows is so notorious for (loss of work, lack of security, fatal patches) to so-called ‘Linux’; the timeframe for a fix says a lot about just how much Microsoft “loves” Linux…



  19. Coming Soon: Microsoft Leaks (Which Microsoft Pressured Medium to Suppress and Promptly Unpublish)

    Microsoft is no ordinary company; exposing it is like dealing with the Mafia or some drug cartel in Mexico, but we're able to publish truths about Microsoft nonetheless (their notorious intimidation and silencing attempts have always failed against us)



  20. Dishonest Corporations -- Like Smug Politicians -- Pretend to be Something They're Not

    Corporate lies dominate the media, having been crafted by unethical marketing departments with their photo ops and hashtags



  21. GNU is Also a Brand, But It Boils Down to Philosophy and Principles, Not Greed or Corporate Identity

    Why the goal of GNU should be freedom rather than so-called 'world domination' (the objective of large firms with shareholders)



  22. IRC Proceedings: Friday, September 18, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, September 18, 2020



  23. Links 19/9/2020: Taiwins 0.2 and a Call for Ubuntu Community Council Nominations

    Links for the day



  24. One Year Later Richard Stallman Needs to be Un-cancelled and Attention Turned to the Real Perpetrator of MIT Scandals

    The sheer hypocrisy, treating Stallman as the real nuisance to MIT when it was in fact Bill Gates who trafficked money through convicted sex criminals (to MIT); justice needs to be belatedly restored



  25. ZDNet's 'Linux' Section Isn't About Linux But About Microsoft

    ZDNet's so-called 'Linux' section isn't really about GNU/Linux; it's just the site's usual Microsoft propaganda, bought and paid for by Microsoft



  26. Debian's Network of Gossip and Gossipmongering in Debian-Private

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  27. More EPO Disclosures: An Explanation of How an EPO Survey Plots to Dismantle the EPO's Staff

    Dismantling the Office for the benefit of a bunch of private companies (taking over various duties of EPO staff) seems like the management's goal; included in image form (and text) below is today's publication. There's a PDF with text (not OCR) but it contains metadata.



  28. Forced Confessions and Thought Control in Debian

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  29. [Meme] You Cannot Elect/Vote Corporations Out of Power (Eternal Vigilance is Required)

    Based on early polls, Biden will be president-elect in about a month and a half; but it’s important to remember that the election (if honoured by the current tenant of the White House) won’t be the end of corporate abuse of power in the same sense that driving Microsoft out of business won’t miraculously mean that Free software ‘won’ (we have a lot more to confront still)



  30. Debian Volunteers Disallowed and Forbidden From Talking About Politics (Unlike Debian's Aristocracy That Handles All the Money From Sponsors)

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts