Its suddenly occurred to me how ive been tripping over backwards for years to try and always call linux by stallman's preferred gnu/linux monicker but he wont use 'they' as someone's preferred pronoun.

That's fucked up when you think about it.

@Greg regretting not putting under a cw, but it feels too late now.

@Greg @trashHeap

What CW would have been appropriate? I'd have posted it "naked" because I'm not used to CWs, but also in this case I'm not sure what would warrant a warning.

@signaleleven @Greg A CW while not intended to muffle a toot and prevent it from getting a lot of unneeded attention; often can be somewhat pragmatically abused to get that benefit as a bonus.

@signaleleven @Greg Like had I placed that behind a CW, I may have talked to a few less transphobes today.

@trashHeap Wait, what? Why won't he?

Maybe we should write him a document describing the rationale.

@trashHeap He makes good arguments, but they're significantly less grounded on history, etymology and reality than many of his other arguments.

(The arguments themselves, however? Completely follow on from the premises.)

They also fail to take into account that the point of such reforms is to make things easier and better for people.

@wizzwizz4 Theirs also an element of ... just not being a dick?

Like if I walk up to you and a pile of different shaped waffles, and ask you for a square waffle, and you deliberately look at me and hand me a round waffle... YEAH its still a waffle. But your being a dick.

@trashHeap Round waffles are superior, though. If everybody started eating round waffles, it would be better!

This neglects to consider the negative effects of trying to force round waffles on people who really, really would much rather a square waffle or no waffle at all.

His heart's probably in the right place, but he's just not thinking everything through. This is (I think) his logic:

* Things are bad.
* Reforms stop things being bad.
* Reforms help people.
* Reform all the things.

@wizzwizz4 > His heart's probably in the right place, but he's just not thinking everything through.

I mostly agree with that.

Though I think my original point still stands. He asks for a lot of accomodations about language from others, but doesn't accomodate others; even when it's one's personal pronoun.

@trashHeap The way he sees it is probably more:

"I'm working to make language better."

With GNU/Linux, there aren't people as collateral damage. With pronouns, there are.

(Does Richard Stallman have an ActivityPub-connected social? It might be useful to CC him in here.)

@wizzwizz4 I don't disagree. But its functionally identical to being a dick; and comes from a rather priveleged position in all honesty.

Stallman has no AP account. He famously doesn't post to any social media account. Libre or otherwise. He has a static html page where he microblogs about news and politics. Several volunteers and bots syndicate to various places, including the fediverse; but it's all broadcast/write only.

@wizzwizz4 It also wouldn't do much good to loop Stallman in on this. Others have tried.

That page on his personal site is the result of months of inter GNU mailing list debate.

He is aware of the other opinions.

@trashHeap His opinion might be too entrenched, but I'd like to see an explanation of how "language reform" reaches some universally-considered-positive thing.

I find such things to force me to consider, in detail, why I'm actually doing things. A couple of times, I've realised that I'm doing the wrong thing entirely – considerably more times I've found a better way to do it. Either way, doing so will:

* focus discussion on stuff he cares about; and
* help to explain his views to others.

@wizzwizz4 @trashHeap No you don't. If you can't understand why calling people by what they want to be called is a good thing on its own, regardless of "language reform" and "universally-considered-positivity", nothing else will, and certainly not an impossible-to-provide "explanation of how "language reform" reaches some universally-considered-positive thing". I believe you intentionally set the bar too high so you don't have to change your behavior or challenge RMS'.

@hypolite @wizzwizz4 I don't get frankly whats so freaking hard, at just letting non binary and trans people be the experts on what they are to be called.

I don't see further conversation along the lines language reform, personally useful or in scope of this conversation.

It honestly reads as a tedious distraction. I hope im wrong, but either way please don't enlighten me anymore on the subject.


Not everybody shares your knowledge – your view of the world. Somebody not understanding something that seems obvious to you is not an intrinsic failing in any other field, but in ethics or social behaviour it's suddenly a fundamental character flaw?

I think Richard Stallman is mistaken. I am currently challenging his views. But, honestly, he's not influential enough in linguistics to be significant, and his views aren't harmful enough to prioritise.

I'm merely picking battles.



Richard Stallman, quite frankly, isn't a transphobe. Labelling him as such dilutes the label. He's a talented hippie activist nerd whose insistent use of nouveau pronouns hurts some of those he talks one-on-one to.

This is nothing compared to even one of the many people who actively seek out vulnerable people and attempt to drive them to suicide. Any time spent trying to convince Richard Stallman of this would be better spent elsewhere, given how many have tried before.



But it would be nice if he provided a chain of reasoning, so we'd have a fair place from which to start future dialogue on the topic.

@wizzwizz4 This isn't about knowledge, this is about empathy for your fellow humans. You showed none so far, and no amount of "knowledge", including the ludicrous explanation you asked above, will change that.

If you can't stand that we are criticizing Stallman for his queerphobe, mysoginistic and creepy behavior, it's fine, just don't waste our time any more.


If this writing of Richard Stallman's is actually hurting more people than I estimate (showing its popularity would contradict my assumption that it's a relatively obscure work of his) then I'll reconsider my assessment that it's not worth the time to bring up with him.

If he's actually transphobic (i.e. more so than suggested by this webpage) then I'd really, really like to know. Similarly for misogyny.



And you say that it isn't about knowledge, but empathy. I'd like to know how you can be empathetic without actually knowing people are hurting. Is it some psychic power? Do you read their controlled facial expressions, or something?

As long as he thinks he's working for the greater benefit, and that objections are minor, unrepresentative whining, he won't change. I think he's the sort of person who would change if shown otherwise, but I'm willing to be proven unhappily wrong.


@wizzwizz4 I've nothing more to add to this conversation. You've shown that you're eagerly ready to rationalize any of RMS' behavior while you expect your interlocutors to provide impossible proofs and/or doing all the legwork. If you aren't ready to change your mind when shown otherwise, why would you expect RMS to?


I would _like_ RMS to provide those proofs and do the legwork.

I am not defending, but attempting to explain RMS's behaviour, so that if you decide to take him on you stand a better chance of changing his mind. Not knowing him well, the most I can do is extrapolate from the limited data I have.

He doesn't see himself as a bad person. You can use that.

(And I do not agree with him here; I thought that went without saying, what with all my "with pronouns, there are [people hurt]".)

@wizzwizz4 But he won't provide those proofs, because they don't exist, it's an empathy question, not a logic one.

And neither @trashHeap nor me have expressed the idea of interacting directly with RMS, we're just going to ignore him and pull any support we provide the FSF until he gets removed. None of us has the required access anyway.


That's fine… though I personally think it's a bit drastic. Do you mind sharing the other reasons you don't like Richard Stallman? As it is, I've only been exposed to pro-Stallman propaganda. 😛

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@trashHeap @wizzwizz4 Maybe an approach would be only to address Stallman as 'thou'. And, if questioned, explain that 'you' is actually a plural form and that to use it to refer a single person "violates the grammar of English so deeply that it feels terribly wrong".
@trashHeap Personally I came to call it she+he to avoid violating English grammar which is most important.

@ultem I came to the conclusion that I should use whatever pronoun is requested. Because being nice is most important.

@trashHeap @ultem the English language and it's grammar aren't static. They constantly change and evolve. Not to mention a singular they shows up in writings hundreds of years old as is.

@trashHeap @ultem Relax, you aren't violating anything with "they". "she+he" is another projection and unlikely to be well received.

@ultem How is that "most important"?

A) You can't hurt grammar's feelings, but you can hurt people.

B) Singular "they" has been documented back to before and including Shakespeare and Middle English grammar. Is the exact same process that "you" became singular (to replace dumb formality-based alternatives no one needed).


@trashHeap linux is one thing, pronouns are every single person's thing
@trashHeap On this point, he's also technically wrong (the worst kind of wrong?). Singular they has been in English since 1375.
@trashHeap I wouldn't stop doing it regardless of your personal opinion of RMS, because his, still valid, point was to honor the work of all GNU developers, not just him.
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