Why We Froze the SustainOSS Discourse Forum, and what’s next


SustainOSS suffered from a lack of CoC and recurring toxic behavior, which is a common combination. They addressed it by freezing the public spaces for a few weeks, which is an idea that is new to me, but interesting.

I’m not sure how it could be applied in a context of a horizontal and transparent community though. The discussions during the freeze period were held in private spaces and not disclosed publicly. The changes to adopt a CoC were not debated in public. I’m not sure this is a process I would like to participate in.


Wonder what the toxic behavior was. I am also a member there, and brought up FOSS tools just like you. Then @lightweight chimed in and his posts were 3x flagged, plus his blog blocklisted. In general the SustainOSS is a group that doesn’t shun big tech tools and at the time I was checking they had big tech representatives in their organization (like Github), so that is not a real surprise. It is more on OSS than FOSS.

I witnessed first hand toxic behavior that justified moderation: there was real cause for action. I can’t speak to unjustified flagging but I’d be interested to read the thread where this happened, if it’s still there.

I share your impression that SustainOSS is amicable to organizations who predominantly sustain themselves with proprietary software and this is not what I am looking for with regard to sustainability. I’m however interested to observe the rationale that ties the maintenance and creation of Free Software to the profits generated by proprietary software.

My intuition is that all Free Software that is funded by proprietary software is limited in scope. For instance there are no federated online service Free Software funded by proprietary software companies. And I think (but can’t really articulate yet) that it is because federated online services cannot conveniently be implement as proprietary software.

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That was in this thread: SustainOSS and the FOSS tools that are used - Site Feedback - Sustain Open Source Forum

Want to point to initiative that I earlier rejected on delightful funding candidates list, because of its pure-blockchain take. This dependency has changed since a collaboration with OpenCollective, and also apparently supported by SustainOSS. Have to re-evaluate for inclusion:

Among projects accepted in first cohort is Pixelfed.

(Note that to me it seems that the crowdmatching algorithm might well be ‘borrowed’ from Snowdrift.coop, not sure though)

It looks like the toxic behavior originated from the same person there. It will be interesting to see how the new code of conduct improves things.