Avoid promotion of non Free Software license


The article and website linked from https://mstdn.social/@pixelcodeapps/108625122463105331 primarily promote a license that is not Free Software. Even if it is done with the best intentions, I think indirectly endorsing it by boosting this toot would be crossing a line for forgefriends.

For this reason, and for the first time, the forgefriends (@forgefriends@mastodon.online) - Mastodon account did not boost a toot mentioning it.

What do you think?

This is a tough issue.

I can imagine forgefriends account not boosting, because of the issue you mention. OTOH, you might add explicitly to the account profile that it boost ALL mentions, but that that comes with NO endorsement at all.

If you are not doing it like that, it is best to mention that forgefriends ONLY boosts things that do not ‘cross its line’, and explain what that line is. It then includes i.e. “Adhering to the 4 freedoms” in content that is linked. And the added responsibility for you to check those rules. With growing popularity this can become burdersome. You’ll also need a disclaimer, to state that you can be wrong, and will unboost if people point that out.

The ethical licenses discussion is interesting. It is super controversial, that’s for sure. On the whole the people promoting them, or thinking for alternatives in general, have the interest of the Commons high in their priorities. They get viciously attacked, ostracized sometimes, for it.

It is a fact that protecting the four freedoms with copyright law and licensing, offers just some thin layer of protection. Question is if we should close our ears and eyes to discussions on how we might improve that. Be aloof of the discussion, and reject it outright. (Note that I am no proponent of ethical licenses myself, if only for the reason that you cannot define ‘ethics’ consistently. You get to be on shady ground of opinions and judgment calls.)

With CoPilot-like AI’s we have entered new ground. It may fundamentally change the FOSS landscape. That CoPilot does not legally violate the four freedoms when it gobbles up FOSS codebases and presents them elsewhere in some form or other is worrisome. It means too that there’s nothing that withholds Microsoft to launch a crawler that scours the web for any FOSS and thankfully hops onto forge federation as well to scrape the social fabric there.

That’s sensible. What about:

If a member of the forgefriends community has reservations about boosting a toot, it is discussed in the communication category of the forum to make a decision.

This way there is no need to be specific, just to clarify that boosting is not done by a bot but by a community that has a decision process and may decide there is a line that should not be crossed.

So… instead of me posting a topic titled Avoid promotion of non Free Software license, I would post a topic explaining why the forgefriends mastodon account should not boost it.

There is a fundamental contradiction in the ethical licenses: it is the work of people who do not understand what a license is. There would be no controversy if they published a manifesto without trying (and failing) to empower it with a reasoning that claims to be based on copyright laws.

So you take on on the responsibility to be the reviewer? Before the fact, or after the fact? If before boosting then you have even more work to do. Ater the fact, there’s the ability for people to object, and you can point to the objection procedure on the account profile (benefit: become forum member to object).

After the fact would be better. Especially if the objection procedure entailed formulating a ‘Project response’ with a community consensus. Then you can post that as a reply to the boost. And with that in place you can be consistent in boosting all mentions of forgefriends.

From the project perspective the toot in question does not imply things about forgefriends that are untrue. It promotes forgefriends. Gist:

~~> “There is a problem with Copilot and with Copyright law. See our blog for more thoughts. Tips and best-practices to follow: Free software tools, Gitea, Codeberg, forge federation, Forgefriends by Dachary”

And there’s someone who signed up to Codeberg as a result of the toots.

1 Like

Yes. This is what I’ve done for the past year and filtered out spam / noise. This is the first time a toot is not noise and potentially problematic.

After the fact would be better.

This is an excellent idea. Except in the case where the primary goal of the person is to spread awareness, which seems to be the case here.

It promotes forgefriends.

Yes but there an argument to be made that there support is primarily designed to promote their ethical license.

The more I think about it the more I think this should be boosted and only spam / noise filtered out. Boosting is not endorsing and I’m probably overthinking this.

1 Like

I will boost this toot now. Discussing it more would effectively be changing the policy that was agreed on. If this is decided, it should apply to toots in the future, not right away even before a decision is made.

1 Like