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Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal

gap - 4 months ago -

https://wiki.parabola.nu/Parabola_Social_Contract

Parabola is Free Culture: All documentation and cultural works included in products of the Parabola project are Free Culture, with the exceptions of: works stating a viewpoint, invariant sections and cover texts. All documentation and cultural works created by or for Parabola are Free Culture, with no exceptions.

The goal and the exceptions are incompatible; to be free culture (ie. every file in the system being 100% free), the exceptions must be removed.

Works stating a viewpoint have many uses; they could be modified and used in alternate history literature or films, for example, not just used to misrepresent people.
We already have other laws, such as identity theft, libel, and slander laws which protect people from smear campaigns and outright malicious lies.

Invariant sections, whether in the form of invariant prose or cover texts, are also completely against freedom.
An immutable and/or non-removable section is obviously not free.

Therefore, I'd like to propose removing the exceptions.

I'd also change the word "created" to a less loaded word like "invented" or "authored", so as not to imply Parabola is in favour of extending the power of already-unjust copyright laws.
See: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html#Creator

I'd also change the word "product" to something like "works" because "product" seems to imply commercialisation, and not all copies of Parabola are sold.


Replies (21)

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - bill-auger - 4 months ago -

i would change the wording of nearly every sentence of that document - not the meanings or intentions; but definitely the precise wordings

the first thing that needs to go is the name - it is a "mission statement", not a "contract"

the specific example in the OP is another bit i would change the wording of - removing those words would change nothing of consequence; because there are few examples of FDL licensed artworks - it only demonstrates that "free culture" is a hollow concept, according to the "free culture definition", and that the FDL is ironically incompatible with the GPL

the "free culture definition" is actually two conflicting definitions - i call the first the "weak" one (analogous to permissive code licenses), and the second one the "strong" one (analogous to the GPL) - it simply allow anyone to choose either interpretation

the FDL and most art licenses are problematic for either definition, because they are incompatible with any other licenses - most art licenses are acceptable on their own; but they can not be combined with works under other licenses - that diminishes the supposed freedom trememdously - an FDL-licensed work, which contains any "invariant sections", can not even be considered as free culture

the intention of that sentence, is to declare parabola's interpretation of "free culture" as analogous to the GPL; but that requires to reconcile (somehow), the FDL (also the FAL and most CC licenses) with the GPL, which is not possible

i personally agree with the intention (the strong interpretation of "free culture"); but that means the FDL (and most art common licenses) must be excluded or given that exception, because it is not compatible with any other licenses - i was choose to exclude them rather than make the exception; but it is a mostly insignificant detail

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - gap - 4 months ago -

I agree the FCD needs fixing, and I presume we are all on the same page by interpreting "free culture" as being a generalisation of the free software definition, but for all published works.

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - bill-auger - 4 months ago -

interpreting "free culture" as being a generalisation of the free software definition, but for all published works.

it is that too; but more - the word about "invariant sections" is about license compatibility; but that alone does not actually require any exceptions, in practice, because there is very little FDL licensed artwork to make that specific exception for - also that still does not account for other incompatible art licenses

most art license are problematic, even for the weak interpretation; because they are incompatible with all other licenses - those works can not be mixed

the strong interpretation of "free culture", is more like generalizing the GPL, with its "complete corresponding source" requirement - it is an orthogonal issue to license compatibility

that section of the mission statement is trying to add, on top of the strong interpretation of "free culture", that all files are subkect to it, and that all art licenses should be compatible

the problem is that all art licenses are not compatible; so that exception is trying to get around that complication - as i explained though, it actually fails to do so - it only allows FDL-licensed art to exist; and as i explained, so little examples exists that the effect is insignificant

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - gap - 4 months ago -

Parabola Social Contract Proposal 0.2.0

  • Freedom/Liberty - Parabola is 100% free/libre, which includes every single file in the system.
    • Software - Parabola complies with the GNU Free System Distribution Guidelines.
    • All other published works - Parabola interprets the Free Software Definition to be generalised to all published works, as defined in the Free/Libre Published Works Definition.
  • Friendliness towards fellow free/libre projects - Parabola's objective is to support the Free Software Movement, so we only need to compete against non-free software; other free software projects are to be cooperated with, not competed against. Parabola strives to support other free software projects as best we can.
  • Transparency - Any information from our project is available for anybody who needs it. We promise to publish reports of all financial transactions, and all donations, financial or otherwise.
  • Community - Parabola's community is democratic in its essence and adhocratic it its form, so the community is to be included whenever there is a need to make a decision. We encourage community participation in the development of the project.
  • Arch GNU+Linux - Parabola is an operating system that is a 100% free/libre version of Arch GNU+Linux, and other systems derived from it.
    Parabola is backwards-compatible with the systems it is based on, so as to help liberate existing installations. We will respect the design philosophies of the systems ours are based on, to reduce friction from both developer and user viewpoints.

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - bill-auger - 4 months ago -

please dont post the entire thing - just the smallest bits you want to changes - this process could take many iterations; and no one will want to read all the redundant revisions in their entirety

that document is under git - patches would be much easier to read - we can discuss this on the forum; but there is little use to propose exact text changes - as i noted earlier today, most parabola devs do not read the forum - this so called "contract" is only alterable one of the alleged "parties" to the so called "contract" - that party is the parabola devs; which underlines why it is not actually any sort of "contract"

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - gap - 4 months ago -

Do you have any comments on 0.2.0?

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - bill-auger - 4 months ago -

no - it is too much to read and compare to the original - just specify the smallest parts that would change, individually, like so:

BEFORE:

so we only need to compete against non-Free software;
other Free Software projects are to be cooperated with, not competed with.
Parabola strives to support other Free Software projects as best we
can and any information from our project is available for

AFTER:

so we strive to support other Free Software projects as best we can.
After-all, Free Software is not a competition.
We do not need to compete with anyone. It is all about cooperation.
Any information from our project is available for

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - gap - 4 months ago -

I reworded the entire thing, as you recommended, since I agree it needed to be.

Perhaps "Parabola Mission Statement" is better?

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - bill-auger - 4 months ago -

ok could you start from this text then:

https://git.parabola.nu/~lukeshu/social-contract.git/plain/Parabola_Social_Contract.md

that is the canonical document - i could make your changes into a diff patch that way

or copy the wiki version, to a personal wiki page - the wiki would produce a diff automatically

the reason is, that no one is going to want to discuss a massive over-haul all at once - people would want to discuss each individual change, in isolation

the "four freedoms" definitely does not need to be there - we are not going to re-word that; and it does not need to be repeated - there is aleady a link to it on the FSF website

UPDATE: i just noticed that page is not a great one - it may have changed over the years - this would be a better link https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - gap - 4 months ago -

You should be able to just copy the markup from my post, and do %s/.h1/#/g and %s/.h2/##/g to convert it from the crappy Redmine syntax to Markdown.
The license of the proposal is GNU-AGPL-3.0-or-later.

The freedoms are there to serve as the much-needed definition of free works, as generalised to all published works.
As you mentioned, the FCD one is flawed, so I wrote a fixed one.

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - nona - 4 months ago -

I am not going to get into a long discussion, but this:

is democratic in its essence and adhocratic it its form

- lacks legal substance

the community is to be included whenever there is a need to make a decision

- is unrealistic

need to compete against non-free software; other free software projects are to be cooperated with, not competed against; Any information from our project is available for anybody who needs it; to reduce friction from both developer and user viewpoints

- vague, inaccurate or undesirable

I object to it (as you can see, per your definition, my opinion--even if "included"--can be rendered void).

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - gap - 4 months ago -

I agree with your assessment.

My proposal was primarily designed to fix the issues of allowing proprietary files and having an unclear definition of free works, so therefore included holdovers from the current version.

Another issue is the method of development for this document: should we all work towards a total overhaul in one go, or incrementally accept new, small improvements to each section?

Another issue is our policy regarding cooperation with upstream projects, specifically when it comes to patches.
At the moment it seems like we maintain libre patches in parallel instead of always upstreaming the patch, or at least upstreaming the patch as a build-time option.
Is upstreaming always attempted?
Based on the sheer number of packages in the blacklist and libre repo, I doubt every single upstream has been contacted on the issues we have discovered.

Finally, how should we define leadership?
"Democracy" could mean true democracy in the original sense, sortition, or the widely-used pseudodemocratic sense of voting in elections for leaders.

Sortition wouldn't work particularly well for a technical project unless the sortition pool consisted of people known to be skilled, but that raised the issue of how we define such skill.
An exam?
Then who should write the exam?
Wouldn't we need a sorition pool of people to write the exam?
Then who should be in the pool?
This problem is recursive.

The pseudodemocratic option of voting in elections could work for a technical project like Parabola.
If so, how should we define the electoral system?
What powers should a leader have?
Should we have a president or a leadership team?
(I'd go for the latter, since putting one person as the head, even ceremonial figurehead, of a serious project is not a good idea in my opinion.)

I think defining these things is going to be a long and involved process, which is why I would advocate for hot-fixing the current version with the one I wrote to immediately fix the glaring freedom issues, and then work on the holdover issues as a community.

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - bill-auger - 4 months ago -

people prefer to engage with one specific topic at a time - long posts with multiple questions or comments on different topic are daunting - it helps to break it down into digestible chunks - this thread is already getting long-winded - i would treat this thread as the introduction of the general proposal; and for general comments - some time later the details could be discussed on the mailing list

for this project, i would suggest breaking it down to each of the six paragraphs - eventually, that would be six different threads on the mailing list, so as not to overwhelm anyone

  • changes to Summary
  • changes to Parabola is Free Software:
  • changes to Parabola is Free Culture:
  • changes to Parabola and other distributions:
  • changes to Parabola and its community:
  • changes to Parabola and Arch:
  • plus, a separate thread for any new bullet items

i have no suggestions for how to manage the decision making process - originally, there was a voting mechanism; and people discussed each item at length, then voted on each separately - there were many people involved in the discussions and voting - right now, it is much too early to do anything, other than to invite others into the discussion

WRT upstreaming patches: offering patches upstream is always a good idea - they may not be accepted; but it takes very little time to offer them - if they are accepted, it reduces maintenance for the parabola package maintainer in the long term - im not sure if the packaging guide mentions that; but it should

WRT leadership: there is none; and will be none - free software projects do not need leaders - they need only competent and enthusiastic "do"-ers - i suggest that you read the adhocracy article and understand what it implies - adhocracy dictates that anyone who can help in any way, is free to do so, at any time - there is only one "pseudo-role" now, that is if someone claims a package, we should allow that person full autonomy over it, unless there is a serious or urgent reason for someone to step in and over-ride something, and the package maintainer is not responding

there are fine-grained access "roles" for certain team members (eg: git push only, package push only, bug triage only, forum moderator only, server sudo only, etc); but only two very course roles exist now ('hackers' and 'community') - currently the 'hackers' role is equivalent to "people with a key in the keyring", and 'community' is "people who can moderate the websites" - there has no yet been any need to use the fine-grained roles - if there were some roles of strict authority, it would make perfect sense for it to be on an elected basis; but parabola has no such dedicated roles of authority now, so there is no need for elections

just this week i suggested a voting system, that could be used for community engagement (to satisfy the democratic discourse promise); but that would be issues of the sort "what parabola is and does", not "how it is managed"

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - bill-auger - 4 months ago -

back to the topic, i would propose three new mission statement items

  • Parabola and Init Freedom: dedicating parabola to offer multiple well-supported init-systems
  • Parabola and Libre Hardware: dedicating parabola to identifying, prioritizing support for, and recommending the most libre-friendly hardware available - the new "Parabola Recommended Computers" wiki is the current proof-of-concept example
  • Parabola and Education/Self-reliance: dedicating parabola to encourage and educate people, on how to get take the ultimate advantage of software freedom, rather than being passive consumers of potential freedom
  • * Education: learning to hack the system (eg: shell-fu, makepkg), file good bug reports, triage bug reports, maintain packages, etc
  • * Self-reliance: the fruits of one's labor after gaining the needed education (eg: self-hosting network services on libre hardware)

we do all of those things already - the proposal is only to make them formal promises

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - gap - 4 months ago -

I agree with everything you wrote with the exception of referring to users as "passive consumers" (see https://gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html#Consumer).
I think the heart of the Education and Independence point is to teach people to value and defend freedom in line with the free software philosophy (see https://gnu.org/philosophy), eg. beware of ruinous compromises (see https://gnu.org/philosophy/compromise.html), contradictory "support" (see https://gnu.org/philosophy/contradictory-support.html), etc.

I especially appreciate Parabola's dedication to init freedom.

I think the intention behind naming the document a "social contract" was to have some element of a binding contract, rather than a statement of what our mission is, which people could just ignore.
Would it be wise to instate the document as a rule to be followed, or just (somewhat hollow if they are not actively enforced or at least pursued) guiding principles?

As for the libre hardware, unfortunately no solid definition exists yet, none truly exists yet aside the odd component here and there which still can only be manufactured by expensive and proprietary industrial equipment in specialised factories, and the few machines we do have which are more free in terms of software and firmware support than most, are obsolete if it were not for the fact that freedom-conscious people love freedom.
I agree with your proposal, but for the hardware issue, the solution needs to be to liberate existing and new hardware instead of relying on ancient machines.
There are only so many Libreboot-supported ThinkPads in the world, and there will only be less in future.

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - bill-auger - 4 months ago -

gap wrote:

I agree with everything you wrote with the exception of referring to users as "passive consumers"
I think the heart of the Education and Independence point is to teach people to value and defend freedom in line with the free software philosophy

that is the FSF's role - people who are interested in parabola, already have that in mind; because of the work that the FSF does - parabola only needs to start from there, and go beyond the philosophical, into the practical

what i mean by "passive consumers" (and that was not intended as a literal text proposal), is people who only "use" free software, exactly as it is given, but never "modify" any of it, or help to improve it (bug reports alone qualify as help) - regardless of the "words to avoid", that description aptly fits the concern i am highlighting - a "consumer" is someone who takes something, uses it for only their own purposes, and gives nothing in return, except for the initial charge to acquire it - well ok, so parabola charges nothing, and expects nothing in return; but if someone does want to give something back, the only thing that parabola actually needs is participation and contributions - evangelism does not help parabola - it may attract more people to use parabola; but it does not improve parabola, or even to help it to continue existing as it is - ie: if 100 times more people started using parabola, but none of them gave anything back, or helped in any way, that would actually impose a significant burden on parabola (the very opposite of "help")

if merely using free software is helpful to anyone, the benefit is only to that one user, and only to the bare minimum degree - encouraging others to become users is good too; but that helps only those individual users, incrementally one-by-one, and only to the same bare minimum degree - on the other hand, the effect of helping to improve free software, is at once, multiplied by the total number of all users - even the small act of filing useful bug reports, which anyone could do, is very helpful in that way

the "Education/Self-reliance" addition addresses an entirely different concern than appreciation or evangelism - it is to exercise your freedom in practice, rather than simply "having" freedom in theory - it is to define your own "threat-model" and to mind it vigilantly, rather than being lulled into complacency that the vague promises from the dev team, default security settings, nonprism packages, etc, are bullet-proof protections - i have discussed this with several parabola devs over the years - at least myself, freemor, and aurelien are quite adamant that parabola plays this role, to "elevate" users, rather than merely "supporting" them, as other distros do - not to "protect" free software users (or even to promise to), but to "arm" free software users with the tools they need to protect themselves, and to "train" them how to use those tools properly and safely

these are things that the FSF should also be doing; but unfortunately they do not even encourage them - that is the reason why parabola should focus there, and not so much on the things that the FSF is already doing - the top rung of the FSF's "freedom ladder" stops at: "#7. Trying a free operating system" - IMHO that is not the end of the journey - it is only getting people on the bus - parabola can take it from there - "So, you've reached the top of the ladder, have you? Congratulations and welcome aboard! Where do we go from here?"

I think the intention behind naming the document a "social contract" was to have some element of a binding contract, rather than a statement of what our mission is, which people could just ignore.
or just (somewhat hollow if they are not actively enforced or at least pursued) guiding principles?

but it is not a binding contract - they can not possibly be enforced; so that term is misleading and/or dishonest - they actually are only "guiding principles" or "promises" - it is not possible for them to be anything else sincerely

a contract requires at least two parties to be in agreement; and it is binding only between those parties - all of whom must be known to the others by legal identities; and the agreement must be objectively verifiable in some way, in the event that one of the parties wishes to challenge another, due to a presumed failure to oblige - when a single party posts something, it is a "statement" - that is very different than a "contract"

parabola is a "labor of love" - people contribute to parabola of their own volition (only because they want parabola to be awesome), not due to any obligation - in my book, that is more sincere and honorable than the fulfillment of any contractual obligations

"Parabola GNU/Linux" is not a legal entity (and no, capital letters do not change that fact) - parabola is nothing more than the sum of its contributions - none of the team members are ever asked to sign any "contract" in any legally verifiable way - perhaps they could; but no one ever has - but more obviously and importantly, the other alleged party to the "contract" ("its community") is not any discernible entity at all - it has no identity, from which to pose any challenge to the contract - parabola's community is literally every person alive on earth - as of today, not every person alive on earth has been asked to sign any "contract" with "Parabola GNU/Linux", and surely never will

as a contract, it is invalid on the face of it - therefore, that wording is a ploy; and to present it as a contract is presumptuous and unprofessional - the only way it could be valid, is if some parabola users identify themselves and sign the contract - literally, a contract between "parabola" and "its community" implies that no one would be allowed to join "the parabola community", unless they identify themselves and sign the contract - i believe that no one wants that to happen - it is ridiculous - the most that it could be, sincerely and truthfully, is a statement of the project's goals, and a promise (to no persons specifically) to remain true to those goals; which is the definition of a "mission statement" - the only difference is that traditional formal organizations with a mission statement, are making those promises to their benefactors, or to the state - note, importantly, that the promise is to their benefactors, not their beneficiaries - but again, all parties in those traditional organizations and their benefactors/regulators, are legally identifiable persons, and could rightfully challenge any deviance from the stated goals - in this case, the promise is to the beneficiaries (parabola users), which is a rather peculiar and new concept - if parabola fails to meet its goals; absolutely no one could challenge that supposed "social contract"

that term is unsubstantial BS jargon, pandering only to those ignorant enough to believe that it has substance - if people would rather ignore a "mission statement", only because of that two word change, it poses no threat to the dignity of the project - but as it is, i sincerely hope that most parabola users are wise enough to ignore it's invalid claim to be a contract, until it is corrected - as technicians, we should reject such nonsense; and state things plainly for what they truly are - i hope that parabola users expect no less than such "full disclosure" and sincerity, from the people whom are entrusted to compile their software

FWIW, i am not picking on parabola - other projects have a similar "social contract", debian for one - i believe that the original authors were mimicking debian in that way - it is nonetheless a BS term, regardless of which project adopts it; but OTOH debian is a legal entity with benefactors - debian may actually have some contractual obligations to someone; but certainly not "its (undefined) community"

As for the libre hardware, unfortunately no solid definition exists yet, none truly exists yet

there is a formal definition already, two in fact, 'OSHW' and 'RYF' - parabola could adopt either definition, or declare its own if those are not strong enough - plenty of fully libre hardware does exist; but not many complete computers - the TalosII is one, which may meet even the strongest criteria - the point of the "Libre Hardware" item is to make it a formal goal, to whatever extent can be achieved in that general direction - "that general direction" for now is "away from the CPUs that parabola supports now"; because those are not moving toward freedom - at least some others are trying

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - bill-auger - 4 months ago -

nona - i think we are in close agreement - the ideas are all sound; but the wording is very misleading/presumptuous - i have had an email draft about this for 3-4 years; but i never bothered to post it - this may take a long time to re-work; and ive seen it as a rather low-priority - but like all low-priority things, they should happen someday - they just need a little kick sometimes to get started

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - gap - 4 months ago -

The problem with the "consumer" terminology, as the GNU page says, is that it is:
- confusing, as "consume" means that the resource in question is actually used up, which is not the case for digital data like Parabola,
- biased, as it degrades the work and its inventor by equating them to just any old resource that happens to be needed, instead of a work someone has put time and effort into,
- harmful, as it is used by people as justification for making works proprietary, or even advocating increasing the power of the already-harmful copyright law, by making the confusing equivalence to property and limited physical resources, both of which do not apply to digital data like Parabola.
The term "passive consumer" is especially confusing because consumption is an active process.

I think a better term for people who actively use Parabola without contributing back to the project is "user", as opposed to "contributors", who actively work on Parabola.
Also, even using Parabola helps us, as it will inevitably bring new users, which will inevitably bring new contributors, which increases our popularity, ability to tackle problems, and our ability to further expand.

I also take issue with the term "evangelism" as it has religious connotations and implies blind faith, which couldn't be further from the truth when it comes to Parabola, a mainly technical project, and the dozens of articles written by the GNU Project justifying and clarifying the free software philosophy at https://gnu.org/philosophy, not to mention the dozens of examples in which our predictions and philosophy has been proven correct in the real world, documented at https://gnu.org/malware.

"OSHW" is just the disingenuous analogy of "OSS" so I wouldn't take it seriously at all.
They have the sheer gall to call software with embedded proprietary files "open source" and this extends to circuit boards which only have a single "open source" component on them!
There are boards stamped with the disingenuous logo despite 95% of the components being proprietary and 100% of the manufacturing machines and processes being proprietary!

RYF is the best guideline we have right now, but is far from truly libre hardware.
The Talos II is probably the closest we have to libre hardware, but if I were to write the definition, it would not qualify, as the method by which hardware is manufactured must also be libre, as this is the analogue of requiring all software needed to build a program to also be free, and I absolutely guarantee the chip fab processes are patented out the rear end.
Even in a hypothetical world in which desktop hardware manufacturing machines existed, like a 3D printer on steroids, the machines themselves won't be libre if they are encumbered by patents.


I think the ideas we all sharing on this discussion are in different yet related areas and as such I came up with a way to organise them:

Parabola Mission Statement

I propose we instate the to-be-named Parabola Mission Statement a "founding document" of sorts.

However, the issue of its binding nature must be resolved; if it is not instated as a rule, then isn't simply ignoring it an allowed thing for contributors to do?
In this case, what's the point in even having it when anyone is allowed to break it and do things like import proprietary packages into the repos?

I'm not suggesting it should be a legal contract or legally enforceable, but it should carry enough weight that a violation of (what we agree to be) its spirit should be considered "disallowed" in some way.
In other words, it should be the "ground rules" that prevent Parabola from devolving into anarchy, but keep it otherwise maximally free, in the same way as the conditions of the GNU GPL.

We could implement this with the typical systems used on online communities, eg. warnings followed by a temporary ban and a permanent ban if the violations do not cease, because expecting every single person to ever contribute to Parabola to be doing so out of love is unviable since a single rogue person could destroy the entire project.
I hate such rules and regulations as much as the next guy, but it appears to be a necessary evil in the case of Parabola being a technical project with certain promises to keep, principles to uphold, and goals to fulfil.

Even formal promises mean nothing if a single rogue contributor can sabotage the entire project.
In this case, the only way in which punishing or banning the rogue entity can be considered legitimate is if the promises are implicitly rules, because if they are not, all the contributor has done is failed to uphold a promise, which is hollow if he can't be punished for it, and he can only be punished if breaking a promise is equivalent to breaking the rules, in which case the promise is implicitly a rule which has been broken.

Contribution Guide

Based on this foundation, we could build a contribution guide consisting of many parts/chapters/subguides in which we could outline our policies:

Contribution guide:
- discussion guide
Casual: Forum
Help: Forum, assist mailing list
Development: dev mailing list
- issue reporting
https://labs.parabola.nu
- auditing guide
(See <https://labs.parabola.nu/boards/19/topics/1249> for a discussion about this proposal.)
- packaging guide
https://git.parabola.nu
- upstreaming guide
(Yet to be written.)
- maintenance guide
Point people towards the backlog at https://labs.parabola.nu as a todo list.

We should also make it very clear that you do not have to be a programmer to contribute, as we also need artists, musicians, people to engage with the community, and perhaps as we expand in the future, speakers, event organisers, etc.

(The "How to help" wiki page at https://wiki.parabola.nu/How_to_help is a good start.)

As it is an inherently collaborative medium which is arguably easier to contribute to, I'd suggest using the wiki for these guides.
(How do I sign up for the wiki?
I also think we should upgrade its license from CC-BY-SA-4.0-Int-or-later to GNU-AGPL-3-or-later.)

A document written in a markup langauge (preferably Markdown or LaTeX) is another option, but may be too intimidating and/or difficult for newcomers to read or contribute to, especially for those unfamiliar with the markup language in which the document is written.
A static site generator is also an option, but has all the drawbacks of the previous option.

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - bill-auger - 4 months ago -

they are not implicit rules - they are very explicit

anything which conflicts with the guidelines is not allowed - anything that enters the system which conflicts with the guidelines, would be challenged; and whoever put it in would be alerted and warned that it should not happen again - whether that is called: "violating the rules", "breach of contract", or "breaking a promise" is irrelevant - if the same person does it habitually, that person would be asked to leave the team, or ejected if necessary

i think youre just misunderstanding adhocracy - it is not anarchy - the "founding document", "mission statement", ""guiding principles", "social contract", "whatever its named", "it" dictates everything which is important for parabola to be "parabola" - it matters not what the guidelines are called (rules, promises, a contract, or "the fundamental laws of parabola and all things awesome") - those words may have different implications; but it is obvious what the document entails, for every practical purpose

i agree that "passive user" is probably better; but it does not have the bite i was looking for when i wrote it - and FWIW, RMS does not like the term "user" either - id rather not debate the words used in this discussion - we only need to focus on the words that end up in the target document - whether my word is "evangelism" and someone elses word for the same thing is "activism", is irrelevant - the practical activity is exactly the same, regardless of what is being advocated - nowadays, people who do the work which was once called a "traveling salesman", now have the euphemistic job title "product evangelist" - words are cheap these days - we only need to spend them wisely, in the important places

the choice of loaded words and their implications does not change anything tangible - adhocracy has no implications, and no obligations - youre either "in" or youre "out" - anyone who is out, could still contribute in most important ways, only slower - it would require that someone else would need to check that contributor's work from then on, just as is done before any contributor is granted elevated privileges

it is not possible for a rogue contributor to sabotage any self-sufficient project (at least not permanently) - if all of parabola exploded today; we could rebuild it in a short time - i am actually in the process of doing exactly that this week - thanks to pacman2pacman, parabola could even survive without a server if necessary

a project faces that sort of danger, only if there is a single person who has total control over some essential resource (a BDFL), and that person went rogue or missing - but that is surely the most trusted person on the team, if not the founder, who has invested countless hours into it - if that person wants to destroy the project, then so be it; but it is very unlikely - but yet, someone else could fork the project on the very next day and continue (because anyone can, at any time) - it is much more likely that the BDFL would go missing - that happens all to often - it happened partially to LXDE a few years ago; but the remaining contributors pieced it back together, put that on github, and continued - it happened completely to one of my favorite software - after realizing that the original author was no longer responding on the mailing list, myself and another user put the code and wiki on github; and i have been maintaining it ever since - distros that package it, only had to notice the change of address

but again, that sort of concern is not really the point of the "all things awesome and parabola" document - it is about what parabola is and does - it is not about how that is done, nor who does it, nor who gets punished for not doing it - that sort of document is not needed - adhocracy "just works" - software freedom ensures that

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - bill-auger - 4 months ago -

wiki registrations are all done manually - give me an email address that you can get mail at, and the nickname you want - here, on IRC, or just send me an email

RE: Parabola Social Contract Improvement Proposal - gap - 4 months ago -

Alliteration aerobics

Personally perusing Parabola's package repositories, plucking problematic packages to purge perpetually, as particular problems persistently plague packages: proprietary, partially proprietary, poor privacy, insecurity, telemetry, SaaSSyness etc.

Parabola's purpose is to provide a purely libre system which protects people from persecution and oppression.
As proprietors profit from this, it is imperative to propose proper punishment.

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