In defence of Albanian women: Outreachy & Debian favoritism scandal

In my last blog, I looked at the way some extraordinary women were excluded from Outreachy & Debian internships.

Many people simply assumed that there was only one explanation for the Albanian woman dining with the Debian leader, Chris Lamb, two months before the award of Outreachy internships.

Both men and women look at the DebConf19 photos and reach the same conclusion. People assume it is simply an inappropriate romance. In fact, they may all be wrong.

There are at least two other explanations.

One very simply explanation is that these photos and the $6,000 Outreachy internship were used as bait. In the middle of the woman's internship, they announced DebConf21 would be in Prizren, Kosovo, the neighbor of Albania. $6,000 is three times the normal pay for a female intern in Albania. They hoped that other women would hear about the free trip to Brazil and the huge pot of Outreachy money and hundreds of women would come to the conference. If this was the plan, it backfired badly: women avoided DebConf in Kosovo.

A more disturbing possibility is that this internship money was used as a bribe, either to buy silence or to change the woman's story.

First of all, the woman sitting next to Chris Lamb in the DebConf19 dinner is exactly the same woman who wrote a message in March 2018 telling Lamb that I was helping victims of harassment. When I first published those messages I left out her name. Nonetheless, those messages were written by the same woman who received all those bribes.

When you consider that fact, it becomes a lot harder to speculate that the woman did something romantic to gain an internship.

Secondly, one of the men identified by name in Anisa's message from March 2018 was Elio Qoshi, the Fedora ambassador with a 16 year old girlfriend. The Albanian woman invited to Brazil and granted $6,000 was the first member of the group to call out the Fedora ambassador. This woman's email was a huge inconvenience for anybody in the orbit of IBM / Red Hat / Fedora and his new employer, Ubuntu.

Yet rather than thanking her for being right, maybe somebody wanted that issue to go away.

Here is the exact series of events:

People were quick to assume this was all about dating. But the evidence has been there all along: Anisa Kuci was a whistleblower. She spoke up about Elio Qoshi in March 2018 and then she started getting all these free trips. Were these trips for romantic purposes or was this a tactic to silence the woman?

If they induced her to accept this money in exchange for silence or changing her story then the accusations against Albanian women start to look very inaccurate and offensive.

Please see some of my other pages about how Outreachy fell into disrepute.

Jona Azizaj, Anisa Kuci, Kristi Progri