Talk:Richard Stallman

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Personal life[edit]

The reference to spoken languages is a primary source and should be excluded.

The claim under this section that Stallman is an antinatalist is not only not supported by the linked source, it is directly contradicted.

"I don't wish that nobody had any children; I don't want humanity to disappear. But there is no risk of that; no chance that my influence could be so great as to reduce the birth rate to near zero. Given the numbers I am likely to influence, the influence is all to the good."

Antinatalism is the position that nobody should reproduce. It is not the position that fewer people should reproduce, that some people should not reproduce, or that the human population should decrease. If those positions were described as antinatalism, then much to most of the world's population could be described as antinatalist.

Please correct this obvious error. Thank you. Cfrhansen (talk) 04:42, 29 March 2021 (UTC)

Links in Stallman's quotes[edit]

The article currently contains this sentence, which I take issue with:

> When challenged by other members of the mailing list, he added "It is morally absurd to define 'rape' in a way that depends on minor details such as which country it was in or whether the victim was 18 years old or 17".

I feel like the links change the context of Stallman's quoted statement. Therefore, I made a change removing these links, with this reasoning:

> Remove misleading links to judicial definitions of "right", as in "There is no right to rape." where the quote is considered with moral definitions of "right", as in "Rape is not the right thing to do." - [1]

However, my change was reverted by User:Daveout, which is why I seek discussion on this topic:

> Maybe I'm wrong, but I think these links are informative, thus useful to this topic. - [2]

Firstly, thanks for providing some reasoning to reverting my change that I can pick up on.

In what way are these links "informative" in this context? Stallman's statement is concerned with rape as a moral concept, while these links provide context on the legal framework regarding the age of consent in the states of the USA and the illegality of rape in the world. So they seem utterly irrelevant to me.

In what way are these links "useful" in this context? They inform the reader of nothing that is relevant to the topic of the morality of rape. So at best they can be useless, but I am of the opinion that they even are misleading and thus harmful. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A01:C22:8452:A00:2AE1:A85F:24FB:ACE7 (talk) 15:25, 26 March 2021 (UTC)

Please note that in that quote he was talking about statutory rape and he was responding to someone who was basing their arguments on age of consent laws. I'm aware that that isn't Stallman's view, as he is trying to rebut it. Those links help the reader notice how age of consent may not be a very objective and stable criterion to define rape. But again, maybe I'm interpreting this wrong and could definitely use some outside opinions here. - Daveout(talk) 16:05, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
Maybe a better solution is to quote the person Stallman is responding to or otherwise integrate their thoughts into the text. The links in Stallman's quote suggest that Stallman uses the definitions given in the linked articles instead of him trying to rebut them. However, this article isn't about said other person, but about Stallman. Is this context really necessary? I feel like Stallman's word are quite quotable here and can stand for themselves.
I see that your interpretation of the linked articles is very much valid. However, it was not my first thought. In my first reading, thought these links were suggesting that there is a relatively clear consensus on the age of consent, if only in an US-centric world view. Likewise, the list of countries considering rape illegal being as long as it is, seemed to suggest to me that there is a wide consensus about that. So, I got the impression that these links a passive-aggressive way of counteracting the intended meaning of Stallman's words. Can we be sure that readers notice how age of consent is somewhat ambiguous and that the list of countries defining rape as illegal is incomplete? 2A01:C22:8452:A00:2AE1:A85F:24FB:ACE7 (talk) 19:17, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
I've tweaked the links, I think it's clearer now. - Daveout(talk) 19:41, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
Thanks. These links are much better as their lists contain more diversity of opinions about the topics. I still feel like they provide ways of coming to the same conclusion as Stallman in his quote from a wholly different angle, but at least they work for me now. Following your lead, I will also acknowledge that my conception of Stallman's statement might be wrong. So with your last change, the issue I was having is resolved. Thanks a lot. 2A01:C22:8452:A00:2AE1:A85F:24FB:ACE7 (talk) 20:22, 26 March 2021 (UTC)

Journalists misquoted RMS[edit]

How about finding a source for and adding a mention of how some journalists misquoted Stallman's expression that started with a sentence beginning with "The most plausible scenario is that she presented", even to the point of claiming he defended Epstein himself and said his victims were entirely willing (The Daily Beast)? --AVRS (talk) 01:38, 4 June 2020 (UTC)

Yes please. --M!dgard (talk) 00:04, 5 June 2020 (UTC)
I personally agree his quotation was edited to change its meaning to the worst possible interpretation. I'm not sure if any reputable secondary sources choose to comment on that though...? -Reagle (talk) 16:02, 5 June 2020 (UTC)
FWIW, I'm not a native English speaker, but it seems that
* the "accusation" of Minsky was created no later than Russell Brandom's article in The Verge (the quote from the court there did not say he was accused, or even when, and, I think, Giuffre wasn't 100 % sure about the location, and she may have been there multiple times).
* "entirely willing" was taken out of context no later than the "Remove Stallman" post by Selam Gano.
* No idea about the defense part.
--AVRS (talk) 07:47, 9 June 2020 (UTC)
(IANAL, I haven't read much of the documents.) The date of a travel (March 2001) is from a deposition, uploaded as "Document(9).pdf", "Case 18-2868, Document 283, 08/09/2019, 2628241, Page277 of 883". But there it's said to be about New Mexico (Zorro Ranch). --AVRS (talk) 00:01, 11 June 2020 (UTC)

Open letter in response to Stallman's return to the FSF[edit]

Stallman's recent announcement that he would return to the FSF's board of directors has prompted numerous people to sign an open letter demanding the resignation of the entire board. Many predominant figures in the FOSS community have signed it, and it seems like it may be an important detail to include whether or not it actually leads to resignations. The section on the GNU project includes a note about a similar letter signed by the project's developers. That said, I'd like to air it here first, especially to ensure compliance with WP:RECENTISM. —Ifandonlyif0 (talk) 02:10, 24 March 2021 (UTC)

I have put it in a citation already, should it be linked on the article itself, in a footnote, or the text copied and pasted? Cynosure-NULL (talk) 02:12, 24 March 2021 (UTC)

Nice edit Cynosure-NULL! @Daveout: makes a fair point. If this is to be included, it should include a source like this one. The trouble with writing about a lot of this is that the free software community is strongly connected, but often only loosely organized. The letter is about as solid a statement as can be expected from the "free software community at large". I have a modified version of Cynosure-NULL's edit ready, but I'll wait for a response from Daveout. —Ifandonlyif0 (talk) 04:24, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
@Ifandonlyif0: Thanks for pinging me and creating this discussion. I think that a secondary source is needed in this case, per WP:PSTS. The letter is self-published (see WP:RSSELF) and makes a lot of highly opinionated claims. That's why I don't think it is appropriate to use it as the sigle source for a claim in a WP:BLP. - Daveout(talk) 05:00, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
The situation is that someone has started what is essentially a petition referring to the Board of the Free Software Foundation and Stallman. Anyone can add their name to the petition. If that is a significant ("notable") incident, an article on the incident should be created. If a reliable secondary source writes a substantive piece with an analysis of the incident and its possible effects, extracts from the secondary source might be appropriate for inclusion in this article. Petitions requesting certain actions are described in an article about the incident (the petition) or in articles about the petition's organizers or signatories. A petitition cannot be used in a WP:BLP article on the basis that editors think the petition and its (alleged) signatories are significant. Regarding alleged: how is it known that the names given were given by those people? Johnuniq (talk) 06:43, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
They are added through pull request here. Still, one would need to be able to connect github account with a real person (making a background check on every person) and it looks really easy to assume someone elses identity. Regarding the open letter – we need to wait for reliable secondary sources. – K4rolB (talk) 06:54, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
Thanks for continuing the discussion folks. Would this suffice as a reliable secondary source? If not, we might want to reconsider the inclusion of the letter from the GNU developers mentioned in the section on the GNU project. The only secondary source for those statements is a blog that appears to be written and edited by one person. —Ifandonlyif0 (talk) 14:16, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
I think that would be enough. – K4rolB (talk) 16:06, 24 March 2021 (UTC)

Do you think a bit about who published the letter is needed (for example: An open letter calling for his removal from the FSF by assorted free software advocates and developers. Or would this fall under WP:RECENTISM. The open letter also called for the removal of the rest of the board, should this be included? Cynosure-NULL (talk) 21:57, 24 March 2021 (UTC)

Yes, the most important thing about the letter is the fact that so many preeminent members of the free software community signed it. I've added those details, along with the fact that they called for the removal of the entire board. Thanks again! —Ifandonlyif0 (talk) 22:40, 24 March 2021 (UTC)

Shortly after, another open letter was made, with hundreds signatures as well, supporting Stollman and defending him from the overzealous internet activist crowd. But ofc this letter was ignored by the majority of internet newsmakers. Can't support the wrong person. -- (talk) 11:41, 25 March 2021 (UTC)

Thank you for sharing the link. Currently there are 2336 signatures under original open letter against RMS, and there are 1871 signatures under RMS support letter. I believe that both of them deserves mentioning in the article.Evilgrass (talk) 21:26, 25 March 2021 (UTC)

The number of signatures is irrelevant, since they cannot be reliably matched with actual persons in any meaningful way. Many signatures from the support letter appear to be from accounts that were created solely for the purpose of signing the support letter, which does not inherently indicate a bot, but it does raise suspicions. Further, the proportion of surnames are substantially, if not overwhelmingly, of Eastern European origin. Again, this is not evidence of bots, but it is a curious phenomenon for a figure who is perhaps known worldwide, but is likely most well-known in his country of origin. This is particularly relevant since the FSF is not an eastern European organization, and has little to no presence or influence there. Indeed, despite its claim of a worldwide presence, the FSF can only operate effectively where there are strong intellectual property protections. Separately, the characterization of signatories as "supporters of free software" is unsubstantiated. Finally, the counter-letter doesn't appear to be signed or supported by any OSS organizations, so its significance is questionable at best. In my view, its mention should be considered for deletion, but none of this is really worth hashing out in the article IMO, so I am editing to remove contentious and unverified content as per WP:BLP. (talk) 08:49, 12 April 2021 (UTC)

The paragraph on the open letter should be removed[edit]

1. It unbalances the point of view by claiming that thousands support the removal of Stallman and not even mentioning the opposition.

2. The article does not say that thousands of people have signed the petition, it merely says there were over 2,000 signatures. Many of the github accounts attached to these signatures have no identity attached to them and could have been sockpuppets.

3. This petition as of yet has had no impact. This petition hasn't convinced the entirety of the FSF board to resign and it probably never will. However, the way it is placed in the article could mislead the reader into believing so.

It can always be added back later when the dust has settled, but I can't see how there is any benefit to keeping it right now. I thought that encyclopaedias were meant to be factual records of what happened, not sports-style commentaries that boldly proclaim what side is winning before the secondary sources have caught up (A single arstechnica article that is still being actively updated doesn't really count). (talk) 22:39, 25 March 2021 (UTC)

Although I agree with most of what you said and would like to stay away from the case until the dust settles, the article is going to get updated with this information all over again and reverting those edits on and on will be seen as a sign of bad will, just as well as keeping it.
The best could be done here is keeping it inline with referenced sources, adding new as they come, and this way keeping both sides of the discussion at bay. If you see the paragraph as one-sided, then make improvements, although please stay away from removing it whole. – K4rolB (talk) 09:07, 26 March 2021 (UTC)

Mention of RMS support among free software community and outside, regarding the attacks he is facing since 2019[edit]

The paragraph "Resignation from MIT and FSF", gives the impression no one is supporting Richard Stallman (except for the mention of the support letter), despite the support from a significant part of the software community and prominent figures. Here is what I propose to add:

Others[1] [2] in the free software community denounced the cancel culture and the mischaracterizations they think Stallman is victim of. Outside the free software movement, feminist and civil rights activist Nadine Strossen, took the defense of Stallman and said, quoted from a longer statement :

But a number of the ideas for which Richard Stallman has been attacked and punished are ideas that I as a feminist advocate of human rights find completely correct and positive from the perspective of women’s equality and dignity!

— Nadine Strossen, "#Cancel We The Web?", (May 11, 2020)
Concomitantly to the publication of the open letter denouncing Stallman in March 2021, an open letter in his support was also published on Github and has received over 2400 signatures from members or supporters of the free software community [3][4].

User:Daveout rolled back this addition, arguing that "I fear that the current redaction has some due weight imbalance. And self-published sources like blogs and github are not good sources."

I'd like for this user or others to do the effort to argue more precisely in which way the due weight guidelines applies here.

Let me argue why I think it does not apply :

In essence, due weight tell us that :

- Wikipedia should not present a dispute as if a view held by a small minority is as significant as the majority view.

and also :

- If a viewpoint is in the majority, then it should be easy to substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted reference texts;

- If a viewpoint is held by a significant minority, then it should be easy to name prominent adherents; (emphasize mine)

- If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small minority, it does not belong on Wikipedia, regardless of whether it is true or you can prove it, except perhaps in some ancillary article.

I don't want to argue the defenders of rms are in the majority (as it is showed by the roughly equal number of signature for each open letter, we could say that the viewpoint thinking rms done nothing wrong is as strong as the other one, but that argument is not even needed here.). Everyone agree I think that the third case does not apply (2400 vs 2500 with prominent figure on each side does not equal "extremely small minority"). My point is the viewpoint supporting of rms constitute *at least* a significant minority and IS held by prominent figures of the free software movement or feminist movement who said so publicly. Like Nadine Strossen, Loïc Dachary or even Eric S Raymond (he signed the letter).

Regarding the "self-published sources like blogs and github" they are only there to source who "other" is referring to (the sources was at the end of the phrase in the rolled back edition, I put them next to the introductory "other" word here) and is a completely valid wikipedia usage. They are not there to prove that some fact is true or not, just who "others" are.

Also the proposed addition does not suggest that "a view held by a small minority is as significant as the majority view.", it simply state the facts in a neutral way. (furthermore it is not clear at all that the view that Stallman's actions and statements were misrepresented is held by a small minority.)

Let's keep emotions outside this question and debate politely with wikipedia related aguments. If Daveout or anyone else does not present more detailed arguments against this addition in a reasonable time I will fell free to proceed with the edit. MaxLanar (talk) 17:15, 26 March 2021 (UTC)

@MaxLanar: In this case, the relevant part of WP:DUE that I was referring to is this one “Undue weight can be given in several ways, including but not limited to depth of detail”. For example, you included a proportionately large quote from Nadine Strossen. She isn’t as relevant in this context as GNOME, Firefox, RedHat, nor X (all of which expressed support for the anti-Stallman letter; their relevance was even acknowledged by the source that is referenced in the article). The source of the pro-Stallman letter, on the other hand, doesn’t acknowledge any particular relevance to individual signatories. At this time, I’m in favor of a more succinct approach. But if we are going to get into details about who signed what, that should apply evenly and fairly to both parties. - Daveout(talk) 17:42, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
@Daveout: Is there an official support/statement from the "GNOME, Firefox, RedHat, nor X" against Stallman, or it is just some people from there are expressing their opinion? I know that some of these are withdrew their FSF support because of this, but still, it is always better to see the full picture. Because there is a lot of difference between personal opinions of some members and official position of company/organization.-- (talk) 07:22, 31 March 2021 (UTC)
Those are the organizations' official instances. It doesn't mean that ~all~ developers working on those projects agree with that take. But some individuals, those top executives and board members, have the powe to speak on behalf of the entire company. And so they did. (this is the info we have so far) - Daveout(talk) 09:00, 31 March 2021 (UTC)
I agree on this with Daveout as the section is not the place to give both sides any argumentation. It is to report on the controversy. I see some of your text added back if someone can find secondary sources, but I am sure, that quote from Nadine Strossen is unnecessary, as it is a primary source to the ongoing controversy. – K4rolB (talk) 12:35, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
@Daveout: @K4rolB: After reading your arguments and the whole section again, I agree my addition could proportionally give too much weight to this view. Especially with the prominent Strossen quotation (it should at least be inline). "The section is not the place to give both sides any argumentation." -> I agree too. I may propose another formulation when I have the time. Thanks. MaxLanar (talk) 09:31, 28 March 2021 (UTC)


  1. ^ Loïc, Dachary (2020-02-10). "How the cancel culture was leveraged against RMS". Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  2. ^ "Justice for Dr. Richard Matthew Stallman". Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  3. ^ "An open letter in support of RMS". Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  4. ^ Varghese, Sam. "iTWire - Pro-Stallman group issues open letter, wants him to stay on FSF board". Retrieved 2021-03-25.

Justice for Stallman[edit]

Happened to come across a few works published on GitHub. It has a bunch of cited sources inside probably worth to look at in light of recent RMS-gate events. Checkout:

  1. "Justice for Dr. Richard Matthew Stallman". Retrieved 2021-03-30.
  2. "Low grade "journalists" and internet mob attack RMS with lies. In-depth review". Retrieved 2021-03-30.

--AXONOV (talk) 14:45, 30 March 2021 (UTC)