FOSS call to action!

I would like to call upon the FOSS community to not bring their society stipulated issues to our world. We are in a very powerful position at the moment where we have defined a society bound by common values of freedom, personal empowerment, transparent and accountable governance, and most importantly, recognition based on what you contribute to the community as opposed to your money, position, sex, age, beliefs or whatever else. We have created an environment where great people can be great, whereas in their own societies perhaps they would be limited or self limit due to various ridiculous status quos or cultural assumptions.
I believe we have something so powerful that we can change our societies all over the world for the better. I am personally frustrated every time I see someone who doesn’t pull their weight get ahead in Australian business or Government, but in the Free Software community, how people contribute is usually quite transparent, and thus if they don’t do the right thing by their community, they simply don’t get ahead. Similarly, if they suddenly do the wrong thing, the community can see and react accordingly.
I would like to call on all FOSS contributors whether you be coders, advocates, sysadmins, translators or whatever to embrace fully what we have, and not bring into our community things that can tear it apart. We make a choice to bring those issues in, and from my perspective, we should be aiming higher than that.
So what can you do today to help? Encourage a diverse range of people to participate. If you see a racist, sexist, or any other negatively biased comment/joke, slap it down. If someone tries to gain favour by who they are rather than what they’ve done, ask them to prove themselves. Together as a community we can continue to flourish as a global community that crosses national, cultural, religious, gender, age and all other boundaries, bringing people together to do great stuff without all the bullshit :)

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2 Responses to FOSS call to action!

  1. greebo says:

    Just as a follow up to Pauls post, my blogpost was a bit over the top (and a bit negative) considering no context was given. Basically I had read another article about ‘what’s with women in IT’ and was frustrated about people bringing fire & brimstone feminism or machoism to FOSS when ultimately it is a much bigger issue than this. I believe while we don’t have a perfect system, that we have a system where we can choose to not bring cultural or societal issues (such as sexism, racism, etc) from around the world into the world of FOSS. Rather we can focus on the global underpinning values we all care about, those of freedom for all, personal empowerment, and so on. I am very proud that I can go anywhere in the world and have a beer/coffee with someone who cares about some of the same basic things I do, regardless of our cultural/religious and other gaps. Sorry if I alarmed people :) Comments now turned on by request for this post.

  2. Pascal Klein says:

    I was going to respond to this earlier, sorry.

    I think it is important and when done in a respective manner, to somewhat include one’s culture in when dealing with free software and free culture. It can be a lot of fun to talk with someone from another country, and I do almost on a daily basis, while learning about some of their customs or traditions. I have to second though that any inappropriate behaviour in regard to this is something we can all do without.

    Obviously when dealing with someone involved in free software and free culture, to different degrees how you and they act is influenced greatly by where they and you are, what society you live in, your and their traditions an so forth. We need to respect that. Whther it’s racism or something as basic as someone bitching, it’s not wanted.

    I’ve seen in on such places as kde and gnome-look. People don’t respect that someone has sat down, devoted their time to something and published it on the net for all to see, share, modifty, improve upon and comment (productively) on. In some cases I see negative comments questioning the basis of the work. If you don’t like it then don’t download it, but unless your comment is of use to others don’t leave it.

    So yea, definitely agree with you.
    As for coffee, looking forward to having one together on the weekend. :)

    Cheers and regards,
    Pascal

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