Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Campaign to 'End' Richard Stallman - Part II - Scaring People Who Produce Videos in Support of Stallman

posted by Roy Schestowitz on May 29, 2024,
updated May 29, 2024

Image credit: RMS, Kimiko Ishizaka, and Robert Douglass at the RMLL free software festival in France. Photo by Julie Cotinaud.

RMS, Kimiko Ishizaka, and Robert Douglass at the RMLL free software festival in France. Photo by Julie Cotinaud.

IN the first part we spoke about RMS (Richard Stallman) talks being "delayed" or canceled. We said that Techrights was mentioned in several new videos for talking about this issue.

We've since then been contacted by a number of people. There are allegations of threats, defamation, and censorship.

Today I want to present one set of messages and I've redacting names to make this impersonal (and thus reduce potential/risk of reprisal).

Here's the first message:

I very rarely watch videos on YT [YouTube], but the one by [redacted] that you posted raised my curiosity as to who this guy is. Once there, I saw some of the usual comments from the cancel mob, so given that I have an old subscription to YT from years ago, I posted two comments, one of which contained a link to stallmansupport.org:

------------

After reading some of the comments, I have to say that whoever cares about fairness should make sure to check stallmansupport.org. You'll be surprised at the number of people, women in particular, who have publicly testified to the contrary of what some people are claiming. Also, check the definition of "hate speech", then try to find actual instances of such speech ever uttered or written by Stallman.

----------------

The other comment was in reply to [redacted], who had replied to someone who said something about RMS's "reprehensible" behavior (with women). To that person, [redacted] responded, "If that is what he did, I agree reprehensible." So my reply to [redacted] was:

--------

No, Stallman didn't do anything "reprehensible", they are just repeating rumors that they "heard".

--------

None of my comments showed, so I wrote to [redacted] to ask what was going on, and I included the text of my two comments. He replied he didn't know what was happening, that he was not blocking me, and that he would check carefully the information I had provided (meaning stallmansupport.org). I pointed out to him that he didn't seem to have had a need to check anything before giving credit to the person who had qualified RMS's conduct as "reprehensible" .

In the meantime, I tried to post my comments again twice, without success. [redacted] kept saying he had no idea what was happening, so I wrote to Google support (of course, no answer so far).

Then [redacted] told me he had decided to disable all comments, and that he was planning to make another video where he would mention stallmansupport.org.

I haven't seen any such video yet. And to be honest, at this point I have a strong suspicion that he was actually blocking my comments -- if he went so far as to censor his own followers, then it's possible he censored a stranger like me.

I don't want to be unfair, but I do doubt his integrity at this point. It seems he depends on his YT videos for donations, so it's quite possible he didn't want to contradict the haters.

He told me he had made this video to support RMS:

https://youtube.com/shorts/Vp9xcxdszmI?feature=share

Really? Nobody is attacking Stallman for not being a good programmer or for not having contributed to software freedom. Stallman doesn't need to be defended about that!

Oh well!

The above mentioned https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp9xcxdszmI but all along (when I checked) it had already been removed. Even right now it says: "Video unavailable [...] This video has been removed by the uploader"

So I asked what went on. This is what I was told:

Yes, he deleted all traces of anything remotely hinting to RMS. And saddest of all is that he convinced _you_ to do the same with that video of his you had published. I suppose you had to, but I wish you hadn't.

Roy, I really don't think he was the victim of any "online abuse and censorship" at all. He just got scared he might lose subscribers and donors. There is a word to describe people like him, which I won't use explicitly to avoid sounding insulting, but to put it in other terms: easily scared and intimidated (may I say, "chicken"?).

He also strikes me as insincere. From the very beginning he was responding to comments against RMS giving them immediate credit, that's what prompted me to mention stallmansupport in a comment, which he censored. And when I write him about it, what does he do? He tells me he will look into stallmansupport (no immediate credit to my word). Then he tells me he will make a video to mention stallmansupport; instead, he deletes the main video as well as the other short one he made (useless video, anyway).

I don't have any respect for this person, and IMO it's not worth wasting time with him.

Best!

As a bit of a spoiler, at a later point we identified Reddit as the biggest culprit. A mob was sort of commandeers out of Reddit.

I spoke to both sides (above) and improved clarify as to what had actually happened. The person who uploaded the videos told me: "Could you kindly elaborate on what you mean by "forces at play"? I am keenly interested in your thoughts. All I know is that I feel I have entered a dangerous terrain."

We'll explain this better at a later point (or part).

"Note "dangerous"," the antagonist said. "As I was saying, dangerous _for him_. But how? What would people do to him apart from --maybe-- lose subscribers and donors? So I will now say it stragithforward: COWARD. Not to mention UNGRATEFUL --he could make no videos, he would not have free software were it not for Stallman! All my contempt goes to him."

This is probably an oversimplification. There was an external factor, which amounted to a sort of lynch mob or "brigading", constituting a threat or at least public humiliation. Haven't many of us seen it before?

This "Cancel Culture" thing certainly deserves to be called "Cancer Culture". Then again, nobody is perfect and it's OK to criticise RMS for some things. Some criticism is fair, whereas some is obviously unfair, even manufactured or outright defamatory.

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