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Just came across this article on Lemmy. A good critique of the free software community and ideals I think.

wired.com/story/more-software-

· · Web · 3 · 3 · 3

This article brings up the things I hope I can tackle in the field of Social Work. How do we make social media that's more conducive to discussion? How can we use software to empower local communities, rather than large for profit corporations?

The free software community has been seriously lacking in critical discussion of power dynamics, social justice, and empowerment.

@dorian I think it is naive to try to prevent people abusing free software by a licence change, in the same way as preventing bank robberies by putting them in a 20mph zone Also while there are people who take an extreme position on Free Speech or Free Markets, most people are more nuanced, for example agreeing that there should be limits on hate speech, or cautious about the benefits of Free Trade https://blog.wp.paladyn.org/2021/10/09/good-economics-for-hard-times/

@dorian Sadly it contains misinformation: “If a court ever got close to taking action, the offender would simply shift gears and do what is asked.” — that’s wrong. When the 30 days lenience period after notification is over and they are still in violation of the license, they are never again allowed to use the software without getting express permission by the authors.

Getting people to use their IP to control what others may do is just the authoritarian way of Trump.

@dorian Also "how to make social networks safer for women or minorities … free software hasn’t improved things" — this is blatantly false. Free Software has enabled communities to devise their own ways. Where Facebook is still giving huge reach to fascists, Free Software enabled communities to develop ways for shutting out the fascists and protect themselves: https://conf.tube/videos/watch/d8c8ed69-79f0-4987-bafe-84c01f38f966

@dorian and "I have suggested a license limited to non-commercial uses" — that is as shortsighted as it gets. Here’s a debunking of that idea: https://www.draketo.de/light/english/politics/free-culture-danger-noncommercial

For this: A non-commercial license would forbid donation sponsored community-sites — the structure that enabled the Fediverse to defend against fascists — and would make them dependent on ad-revenue.

So this article critiques Free Software ideals as not going with the time without even conveying why they are as they are.

@dorian And being dependent on ad-revenue is how big social networks became the cesspool they are, because it forces them to optimize for engagement (outrage, mocking, and filterbubbles) instead of optimizing for the value the users derive of their interactions. See https://www.humanetech.com/

@dorian The author is not a new face, so he should actually know better.

@ArneBab @dorian Donations are not regular revenue. Non-commercial licenses do not forbid taking donations.

To simplify drastically, the main criterion for a donation is that the money is not taken in exchange for something, whereas the main criterion for commercial activity is that the money is taken in exchange for something.

Also: it's always possible to use multiple licenses. NC material does not forbid commercial uses, it just requires you to get permission. Asking may help.

@jens @dorian Whether you are allowed to take donation for non-commercial work is a very gray zone — one I would not risk my livelyhood on.

And getting permission to use something means getting permission by all copyright holders. You cannot.

What you could do is creating a ruling body that receives copyright assignment and rules who may make money.

Then we’re firmly back at proprietary software.

@ArneBab @dorian There is no gray zone, it's very clear: it cannot be transactional.

You offer the printed NC work for free. You ask for donations to support this kind of activity (printing free copies). You must make clear that whether a donation is given, or the size of the donation, is unrelated to people receiving the free copy.

That's the entire trick to it. The two cannot be directly linked. If the two aren't linked, there is no transaction, and no commercial activity.

@ArneBab @dorian You do need the permission from the copyright holder for actual commercial activity, that's true, and that may mean from all of them - which may be infeasible. A governing body is a good idea for exactly this reason. But it's still not commercial activity if the governing body acts as above.

@jens @dorian Let’s assume that you do that and I am a competing platform. I know that you have fixed costs per user, so I create lots of free accounts and drive up your costs.

How do you drive up your income without making that a commercial activity?

This is not a robust way to finance the main communication tool of people.

It is a pretty easy way to drive people who could be actual competition to larger social networks into a dead end.

@ArneBab @dorian Hang on - are we still talking about providing prints of NC material or something else now?

@dorian I have just read the article at https://www.vice.com/en/article/5dgm5k/truth-social-is-mastodon-trump where they say the Truth Social site claims that '“all source code” of Truth Social is proprietary.' Unfortunately the presence of a demonstrably untrue statement on the site will probably have no impact on how much it is trusted by its followers, as they seem to use different criteria for evaluating trust than I do.
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