Make Diaspora a Member of the Free Software Support Network


(groovehunter) #61

Hi, I appreciate it to find a non profit umbrella association for d* but what the heck is the FSSN , what other projects are associated with it? What people run it? What references are there? A web search does not come up with anything - ?!! I would definetly need more profound information to vote different from “abstain” here.


(Sean Tilley) #62

@groovehunter The FSSN is supported by Eben Moglen and the Software Freedom Law Center. When Maxwell and I talked to Eben, the FSSN is what he personally recommended.


(Roger) #63

A bit off-topic but further to my previous comment, I realised that maybe rather than creating a bot for Loomio I should just activate Loomio email notifications! I seem to remember that I deactivated them because most discussions were too technical and I couldn’t contribute much.


(Jason Robinson) #64

After groovehunter asked on my D* post I started looking as well. No real mentions anywhere and their site pretty much has no information at all. Eben himself doesn’t mention it anywhere, on his blog, homepage, wikipedia entry or anywhere I could find. The Software Freedom Law Center doesn’t mention it - it actually says the SFLC is a non-profit itself.

Maxwell, Sean - mind filling some details on who to we are moving all D* copyrights and assets - AND future crowd-funding and/or donation money? :wink:

I know a lot of people respect Eben a lot and it seems he has done a lot of cool stuff. Seems a bit radical to my taste, not quite as “out there” as Stallman but not far off either.

Don’t get me wrong, the FSSN is fine with me, don’t see any better options for D* around the corner. It just doesn’t seem very transparent as an organization - all we have about it is what Maxwell has told to us. I don’t distrust Maxwell or Sean, but there will be a lot of people asking for this information, especially when we open donations. Also the first reaction of the press will be “what the hell is the FSSN??”.


(Roger) #65

@jasonrobinson totally agree


(groovehunter) #66

thanks for the info Sean. I looked into it. And I like the idea of collaboration with SFLC.


(goob) #67

I’m definitely not buying into “let’s do whatever we have whipped up by Monday”. Why would we do that?

It seems to me we should wait for this vote to resolve, then start another discussion to see who would be interested getting a Diaspora fellowship and what a good structure would be when it comes to nomination and or application and acceptance or rejection.

Hear hear! The only reason this crowd-funding thing is on the table is because one person decided there would be one. And that because he feels it will get publicity, not because it is in itself needed. Far better to get the foundation/FSSN ownership in place and then discuss what we might use money for and have a considered campaign then.


(Jason Robinson) #68

@goob excuse me? 10 out of 23 so far support the crowd-funding - how can you say it is only because one persons thought of it? I think it’s a great idea - and so do 9 others.


(goob) #69

Err… one person decided to have a crowd-funding campaign (see the OP:

we also want to run a Crowdhoster campaign for Diaspora (… will launch on Monday).

And we’re now having to have a snap vote on it, without having previously had chance to discuss and consider this course of action, as a result.

I didn’t say that no one else thinks it’s a good idea. Please respond to what I actually say!


(Jason Robinson) #70

Goob, all proposals are usually from one person so I don’t get why this one is worse than the others.


(aj) #71

we have these guys with proven experience in crowd sourcing and the legalities of this free software willing and available to do this now :slight_smile:

and i don’t see a risk, i mean what is the worst that could happen?


(goob) #72

@maxwellsalzberg , I wanted to respond to the points you made to me earlier.

might I ask what do you feel our goal is with the press push we are planning on Monday? Is it to get more press about Diaspora? Prove to people that it isn’t dead, and the community has endured? That communication has improved? What message are we as a project trying to push out to the world?

You might not know about what we’ve been discussing and preparing for in the past weeks. You can look for example at the discussion on the Community Anniversary thread for some examples of that. There’s an email which has already been sent out to a number of media contacts, and a press release is going to be drafted. Well, was going to be: this latest development has changed things a bit.

We haven’t until now been talking about a desperate push for as much press coverage as possible, no. What we’ve been talking about is using this anniversary as an opportunity to get the right message out to the wider world, that Diaspora as a community-run project is thriving once more. To support this we’re giving some stats of number of contributors, number of commits etc., to show that things have been growing over the past year since it became a community-run project.

I don’t see that Diaspora needs press attention per se at this point in time. What Diaspora needs is to combat and dispel the wrong information that remains out there and the bad impression that many people, inside and outside the Diaspora community, still have of the project. That is, things such as:

  • Diaspora = joindiaspora.com (so many articles still carry this, and at least 75-80% of registrations to Diaspora are still to that one pod as a result)
  • Diaspora is run by Diaspora Inc. (whatever that is – there are many theories)
  • the project has stalled or run its course
  • the project leadership isn’t open/can’t be trusted

This is the kind of misinformation I still see frequently within the community and spend quite a lot of time and energy trying to counter.

If we make any splash at all, it needs to very clearly state what the actual case is:

  • Diaspora is run by the non-profit Diaspora Foundation
  • Push diasporafoundation.org as the project website for use in articles
  • the project is thriving and has grown and become more active over the past 12 months (with stats)
  • Diaspora is now run as a FOSS project in a completely transparent manner

Asking for money at the same time would, I believe, detract from, not add to, this message, and would potentially lead to the current bad impression of the project, that is widely held, being reinforced.

Another thing which has been discussed has been about recruiting new members, and many people have said in these discussions that Diaspora doesn’t actually need new members at this moment. It’s great if anyone wants to join, of course, and lots do, but it’s not something that the project needs at this point in time. What we could do with is more developers. More have been joining all the time over the past 12 months, which has been wonderful to see, but the more the merrier and the faster the code will develop now that decisions about the direction of development are taken in a collaborative and transparent manner. So another aim of any publicity we get is to make the project attractive to potential developers, rather than end users.

To do this we need to restate the core values and aims of the project. Again, asking for money at the same time would, I believe, detract from this.

If your goal is to get the word out to the people that Diaspora is live and well, the best thing you can do is send a strong message, and I can’t image a better one.

The message that sends out is ‘Diaspora desperately needs money AGAIN!’ I do not consider that a good message to send out at this time, especially because it is not true. I don’t subscribe to the ‘all publicity is good publicity’ school of thought.

You may have run a very successful crowd-funding campaign three years ago, and kudos to you for that, but that doesn’t mean you’re right about this.

Besides, running a successful crowd-funding campaign brings with it great responsibilities: not least, ‘What are you doing with our money?’ The honest answer would be ‘Oh, nothing really; we’re just sitting on it until we think of something to use it for.’ It’s a governance issue: we need first to propose, discuss and consider ideas for how we could make use of this new structure and any money we raise. Doing this hurriedly without proper consideration of any proposals simply because Maxwell wants a crowd-funding campaign for publicity purposes and has landed this on the community with no notice or warning whatever, rather than because it’s something the project needs to do, is not a good situation.

Doing a crowd-funding drive now without having had much contact with the outside world for the past 18 months might well get headlines along the lines ‘Diaspora, the project that takes your money and then does nothing.’ Publicity like that could really harm the project and undo so much of the great work which has been done by community members working in collaboration towards a common purpose over the past 12 months.

You say that only with a crowd-funding campaign will the announcement get worthwhile headlines, and give two examples. However, if you put the same energy into the announcement and press contacts, without the crowd-funding campaign the headlines might read:

“Diaspora founders send off Diaspora in a big way; Foundation, new leadership, open-source style”

“After a year, Diaspora joins FSSN, goes back to roots to reboot as community project, refreshed core team”

And, as I say, with the fund-raising campaign tied in, the slant might be that the project is in trouble again. You just don’t know how the press will react. I may be wrong; you may be wrong. I think that going all out to get press attention for the sake of getting press attention is a dangerous game.

(You may not know my name, but I’ve been involved since summer 2011, helping out where I can with communication and outreach stuff, but I don’t write code, hence why you won’t know me. But I’ve ‘put my heart into this project’, as you put it, perhaps not as much as a few people at the core have, but still quite a lot. I have a lot invested in this project and its success, and I certainly don’t want to see a poor decision, made in haste, harm the project.)


(aj) #73

i am actually also having trouble trying to come up with some clear goals for a funding that the community can identify with

the problem is that we have been succeeding without this funding :slight_smile:

so what clear and necessary funding can we demonstrate?


(Jason Robinson) #74

@goob I think it’s a good point to raise at this stage that not one of the tech blogs that we have reached to with the email have replied :wink:

So we can either go quiet(ish) with the one year anniversary or celebrate it with big hopes and aims. The choice is yours, Diaspora community.


(Jason Robinson) #75

Oh, have to correct, one tech blog asked us for the number of users and then didn’t reply yet.


(Torsti) #76

@jasonrobinson I’m also slightly confused about the FSSN. As far as I know the Software Freedom Conservancy does about the same thing FSSN is supposed to, but they actually have a real web presence. Some of the people (Bradley Kuhn, Karen Sandler) behind the Software Freedom Conservancy have worked at the SFLC and most likely still collaborate with them. Why would Eben have founded an organization that is so overlapping in purpose? I wish the website would provide any real info.


(aj) #77

did a little dig, i make no claim of accuracy here:

the presiding law firm for the FSSN is staffed by members of the SFLC but unlike the SFLC it works with for-profit companies

the FSSN is a not-for-profit entity they created for holding assets of companies that do comply to the conditions of the SFLC

FSSN is much like the SFC and perhaps shares some history, but there does not seem to be any overlap in staffing between them any more

Kuhn is listed with the SFC and Sandler is listed with the FSSN


(Torsti) #78

@aj ok, that’s at least something. But the FSSN website at the moment does not give the impression of a well staffed project. I mean searching for FSSN you get this loomio discussion within the top ten hits and it gives almost as much or more information about the FSSN as the their website. That probably isn’t a good thing in terms of getting publicity from the tech press/blogs for the transfer and anniversary. Maybe I’ve missed something? Other than my small misgiving I think this is a great idea: there are much better reasons for joining the FSSN that just a press stunt.

As to the crowdfunding, I like the idea of doing it at the same time with the anniversary, but it’d have to be with proper goals for it and hopefully general agreement as to what they should be. Asking money only for the administrative tasks isn’t really that appealing. Something that I think could fit a crowdfunding campaing are specific features e.g. integration with new 3rd party web apps - like MediaGoblin.


(aj) #79

@torstischulz, ya the website appears to be nothing more than a place holder, and the FSSN a convenient legal container

but i have no doubt that Moglen and his group are uniquely qualified to help diaspora make this transition

and the FSSN appears to be a vehicle intended for this type of situation


(Recycling Artist) #80

I have more than this question: is FSSN based in the US?

What exactly does it mean to: Transfer all Diaspora Inc Diaspora related assets to FSSN (Trademark, hosting, Social media accounts)?