Strategy and tactics. Standards and presence.

Michael Hall describes Economic warfare in FOSS and his observations apply to politics (currently known as Gruber) and even in associations that need effective coordination of personal efforts.

“Or, How to destroy a project rather than compete with it.

“Whether they are conscious of it or not, many parts of our community have engaged in it, and it’s hurting us all. When a project comes along that some people don’t like, but they can’t (or won’t) compete with it, they will too often revert into a series of attacks that systematically tear that project down.

“Those steps, as I have observed them, are recorded below. I do this not to instruct people on how to do it (nobody ever needed it described to them in detail in order to participate in it) but rather in the hope that it will help the rest of us identify it when it starts to happen, and call it our for what it is.”

The steps include demonization, the ad hominem, and intimidation. What sets this list apart are the suggestions for opposing these tactics.

“All of this happens only when it’s allowed to happen. It isn’t inevitable, nor is it unstoppable. It can be stopped at any point along this path, if enough of us decide that it ought to be stopped. I hope I don’t have to write another post convincing anybody that is ought to be stopped.

“Prevention starts with identifying that this is happening, which is the reason I detailed it’s progress above. Once we know that it is happening, and how far along it has gotten, we can start to roll it back and undo some of the damage already done.”

What that means is standing up, speaking up, and not being intimidated.

“If it has gotten all the way to the final attack on the head of the project we must, as a community, be outspoken in our defence of them as people and as members of our community. You don’t have to like their project, or even support it, to honestly give support to the person. Ugly attacks, threats of violence, and any other attack on a person or their character should never be tolerated, and we need to make sure everybody knows that it won’t be tolerated.”

In other words, there needs to be know standards for civil discourse and violation of those standards needs everyone to step up when these standards are violated or abused.

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