In 2016, when people attacked Dr Appelbaum with a gossip campaign, the Debian leader had few reservations making a public statement against Dr Appelbaum's human rights.
The allegations against Dr Appelbaum were nothing more than a social media mob. The suicide of Frans Pop was very real, with a body and a note to prove it. The Debian Social Contract tells us we will not hide problems. Therefore, why was this body hidden for twelve years?
Suicides are a matter of public record. A coroner conducts an inquest in open court. The suicide was closely intertwined with Debian culture. Hiding the suicide was closely intertwined with hiding Debian's real face. Yet doing that is a slap in the face of the social contract.
If Frans Pop had only become engaged with Debian a few weeks before his death and if he had some previous health issues then it would be correct to avoid public comment on that. But as he was working on a core part of the operating system, the Debian installer, he had been actively engaged with Debian for many years, he aligned the suicide with Debian Day and he communicated with us immediately before his death, it is unambiguous that Debian was a factor. It raises concern for the wellbeing of all volunteers. In a voluntary organization committed to transparency, this is exactly the type of risk that belongs in public.
Here is the email where German developer Joerg Jaspert takes his stick to the volunteers who expressed concern about the suicide in public. Joerg's assertion that discussion is "missing every kind of common sense and decency" is nonsense. Common sense means different things for different people. For most volunteers, common sense would suggest doing all that is possible to avoid another suicide. For people in positions of authority over other volunteers, common sense means covering it up.
Subject: Privacy of -private list ; missing even one bit of common sense and decency Date: Sun, 22 Aug 2010 00:28:34 +0200 From: Joerg Jaspert <firstname.lastname@example.org> Reply-To: Debian Account Managers <email@example.com> Organization: Goliath-BBS To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com CC: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Hi today we all had to learn a very sad thing. However we may personally view the fact that this is a suicide and however our personal interactions with him have been in the past, it is very depressing to see people discuss if its worth to dedicate a release or not. He has done a lot of work for the project, invested a lot of his time and appearently (read the statement of his parents) the Debian project was a very important part of his life. As such I do not think there is any question but to do the thing we have done in the past already for deceased Developers, and FTPMaster (and DAM) will actively support this again, unless his parents ask us to be silent about it. We will not value the way he chosed to leave this planet, please respect his decision over his own life. Instead this is a value and a remembrance of all the time and work he put into the project we all collaborate on. Unfortunately we also had the misfortune to read information on twitter that, to our current knowledge, must have been gathered from this -private list. We think this a very unfortunate event that is missing every kind of common sense and decency, and therefore saw forced to suspend the accounts of the people leaked from membership on this list. Pascal/Lia Daobing: You both are no longer subscribed to debian-private, for the next 4 weeks. The one and only reason this list exists is to have a place where we can share information that is not immediately leaked into the public. Twitter is not -private. Please, in the future, respect the rules of the environment you are in, especially in such a special case like this. -- bye, Joerg