NOTE: This discussion closes 9am 16 January 2016 (Moving the discussion here for those not subscribed to the mailing list)
Hope you are following the discussions on fsmk-discuss mailing list, fsmk discuss forum , instant messaging services like telegram and various other channels about FSMK using proprietary social networks. Few oppose the usage of proprietary social networks by siting FSMK like free software group should not be promoting such platforms . FSMK should migrate to alternative free software platforms to hold the free software philosophy stronger that set a model to rest. Few others who are in favor pointed that FSMK as movement should reach out more and more people by making use of available and commonly used social mediums regardless of proprietary software or free software. We are very much glad that all the discussions were healthier and productive. However there always needed FSMK’s official stand on such an issue. We FSMK Executive Committee also discussed this matter in detail and came up with a draft note on FSMK’s stand on usage of Proprietary Social Networks. You can find the same below , we would like to know your opinion on the same. Valid suggestions can be appended to the note.
Based on majority opinion the note will be modified(if required ) and published on our website as a formal organizational stand.
** About FSMK **
FSMK, as an organization has evolved into a vibrant community of people from various sections of society bound by the common goal of a free society built with the power of free software, in general, free technology. Today it has professional software developers, engineering students, professors, teachers, researchers, higher secondary school students, government employees and many others. It is from a prolonged practice of reaching out to the farthest corners of the society around us, that a community of such plural nature has come to be and continues to thrive. FSMK has been at the forefront of advocating for free software and fighting forces which harm software freedom or digital rights. It has been an effective platform for people to voice their concerns against issues like Threat to Network Neutrality, Surveillance, Privacy, Section 66A, Goonda Act, Software Patents among others.
** Usage of Proprietary Social Networks **
To carry these messages forward and to make our voice heard, FSMK has been utilizing every possible medium that can reach out to the people around us. Apart from street campaigns, class-to-class campaigns in colleges and other offline media, we has also used various social networks, notably Facebook-Twitter. It is fully clear to the community that these are not only proprietary platforms, but also major corporations capitalizing on the lack of privacy laws and exploiting the users unaware of their digital rights. FSMK has always cried foul of such practices and exposing them is a recurring theme in the advocacy of its members.
It is beyond doubt that a majority of software users in particular, and citizens in general are networked on these platforms. It is a key goal of FSMK to keep striving to reach out to those people outside the Free Software community and bring them into the movement. To reach its longer term goal, it is imperative to engage and be in constant touch with more people and utilize every possible avenue to spread the message of software freedom and related values. We have been fairly successful in doing so too though we still have a long way to go… Most of these activities involve meeting people directly by way of talks, seminars, workshops, camps and other forms of direct engagement. These activities are then supplemented by the immediate networking of such people on social networks which allow for further discussions around the issues created by these very platforms. FSMK is also proud of the various free software contributors that have come into the free software movement as a result of these exercises.
FSMK did not have an organizational policy to either mandatorily use such platforms or to mandatorily boycott them. Some of our members have never had an account, some are barely active and some do not directly use such platforms. The community believes in warmly accepting any forms of contribution owards pushing forward the free software movement. We do not feel the need to take a puritanical approach to this matter organizationally, and it doesn’t come in the way of its members taking such a position individually, like a few that already do.
** How to Improve **
There are areas to improve and ideally we should be able to move people to more free, decentralized and privacy respecting forms of social networking. There have been attempts in the past towards this which haven’t succeeded, but the efforts continue.
*Discussion Forum on
discourse: Most of the quality discussions that arise on various platforms have already been encouraged to be moved to FSMK’s discussion platform running on ruby-based, Discourse instance accessible at http://discuss.fsmk.org
*Migration to Diaspora: The latest hackathon had an agenda to add features that would make diaspora a good replacement option. We will continue our effort to contribute code. We will fully migrate as soon as we can make it usable for our purpose
*XMPP: Same observation as point 2.