Debian, Harassment, Abuse and Expulsions

The original version of this blog omitted many details.

My employer, customers, friends and family rely on Debian and want to know who they can trust.

Therefore, there is now a new blog with the hard evidence of Debian falsifying and misrepresenting harassment complaints to cancel people. Please see the evidence presented here.

It is worth considering that alongside the suicide of Frans Pop. Frans planned his suicide for the anniversary of the Debian software but only went through with it a few days later. The suicides and incidents of self-harm make it clear the problem lies in the culture and not any one volunteer or scapegoat.

On Sunday night, a message was circulated airing the gossip from DebConf18 and DebConf19. As one of Debian's Google Summer of Code (GSoC) administrators and Outreachy mentors in 2018, I had heard things about this, yet I wasn't at DebConf18 (Taiwan). I wasn't at DebConf19 (Brazil). I resigned from my role immediately after DebConf18 and wasn't planning to say any more. Given my formal role in the program, it wouldn't be appropriate for me to confirm anything in the leaked emails. It is obvious that somebody has impersonated Mark Shuttleworth to forward the message but making accusations about who forged the headers is rather vindictive. With the Debian Project Leader (DPL), Sam Hartman, now telling me that he'll ban me from commenting, I can't help remembering the Debian Social Contract, point 3, we won't hide problems. I feel Debian and DebConf presents unique challenges for the safety of interns. During six years mentoring in Debian, I've received at least one personal report of harassment from a participant and they had identified somebody in the Debian leadership. This could happen in any organization, but as Debian is run as a hobbyist organization and given the conditions of the internships, it doesn't have the same culture as an office or company. This is not necessarily wrong, it is simply incompatible. Yet if the culture changed, it would not be Debian any more. I simply resigned without saying anything about this but other people have sustained hostility and forced it into the spotlight.

People can only wonder: why is Debian's leader making this an issue about personalities and egos? Is it to distract attention from the issues leaked in the controversial email? The email was sent on International Women's Day, when many women were marching in the streets. In jumping to conclusions about its origin, Hartman doesn't appear to consider the possibility that a woman could have written it.

My family and I asked for privacy at a very difficult time: could there be any more hideous example of harassment than the way in which these vendettas are still being pushed in private and in public, more than 18 months after I resigned?

As a Debian Developer, I've always made myself available to listen to peoples' experiences of abuse. One of the Albanian interns even wrote to the Debian Project Leader to express her gratitude for my efforts. I felt her words were lost on deaf ears and that is another reason I resigned from the GSoC administration role:

Thank you very much for being so supportive.

I read the comments on the thread and to be honest I am really sad that Elio said that. It is not true at all.

They (Elio and Redon) pretend to support women but on the other hand their behavior towards many of us shows the opposite.

Daniel I feel bad because you have encouraged and helped not only me, but so many other people, no matter if they are Open Labs members or not, and also all the attendees from Kosovo to learn new things, to work and improve their skills and knowledge. They are doubting your good intentions just to remove the attention from the shady things that they are doing.

The free travel comment is really offensive to me and i feel it should be offensive to every woman who is part of the community.
I have been contributing and supporting Open Labs since its early days, and I have put a lot of effort and time, I do this because I believe in what it is meant to stand for and without waiting something in exchange, but the situation lately has been not very positive. Daniel has been present by chance in few cases where situations have been very hard to go through.

I would definitely like to talk to any of you and tell you more about everything that is happening here, its fine to me whether it is a video call, call or just emails.
Please tell me what would be more convenient to you.