Recent events on the forum

Dear forum users and community members,

The past weeks on the forum were very tumultuous and discussions came up that gave the moderators team a tough time.

A little background

There is a decentralized social network called the Fediverse, which consists of many many different instances which have their own codes of conduct and staff that enforces it.
Most instances are nice places - others allow content that is offensive and often these instances are blocked by other instances so the users can’t communicate instance to instance.

There is also a social network called Gab, which has completely different moderation guidelines and quoting Wikipedia “has been widely described as a “safe haven” for extremists including neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the alt-right”.

Gab decided to join the fediverse and the fediverse went crazy.
There were different reactions and all were instantly met with harsh critique.

  • some instances decided not to block Gab - some people saw that as promoting bigotry
  • some instances decided to not only block Gab, but block other instances that don’t do so - some people saw that as unnecessary censorship
  • some app developers decided to block users from using the app with a gab account - some people saw that as censorship
  • some app developers decided not to do so - some people saw that as promoting bigotry

All in all there were some nasty discussions.

Where does F-Droid come in?

  1. F-Droid has an account on the fediverse. The account is on an instance that blocks instances that don’t block Gab. Not all F-Droid core members were happy with that instance-admin decision, but we decided there is no reason to change instance.
  2. F-Droid hosts apps that you can use to access the fediverse. Among them are apps that block using Gab accounts as well as apps that don’t. We decided we are fine with both as long as the app doesn’t actively promote Gab (e.g. suggests logging in with a Gab account).
  3. There was a discussion about Gab creating their own app and pushing it to F-Droid. We decided we wouldn’t accept a Gab app.

Also see our public statement on neutrality of free software.

What was going on on the forum?

A lot of discussions were started about F-Droid’s role in all this, what F-Droid should do and what F-Droid shouldn’t do. Some topics were misguided and inappropriate from the beginning, others turned vile after some time.

What are the consequences?

To protect the mental well-being of our moderators team who had to deal with all this we decided we don’t allow any discussions about our decisions regarding Gab or any discussions about Gab anymore - on any of our channels.

For the forum this means we are hiding all topics about Gab. We will keep hiding and closing new topics that are created and if a user keeps creating topics about this even after an official warning their account will be closed.

This is a protective measure.
If you disagree with our guidelines regarding which apps are allowed or not allowed in our repository feel free to create your own repository.
If you disagree with our guidelines regarding what kind of discussions we allow on our channels, feel free to host your own platform somewhere where you can post your stuff unmoderated.

This whole discussion has nothing to do with free speech or free software
Neither the right to free speech nor the freedoms provided by free software give you the right to spew hate speech on platforms that don’t want to host that kind of speech.