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To My "Friends" on FOSStodon

[This essay is the third in a series about a current social controversy occurring in the Fediverse. Read Curated Thoughts on FOSStodon for a brief explanation and for the commentary which resulted in this.]

You keep telling me that my public commentary against you is hurtful, and I shouldn’t hurt my friends. Both of those statements are true. One problem: we aren’t friends.


I don’t care what you say you endorse. Actions speak louder than words. As I and others have explained to you personally and in hurtful public messages like this, is that your actions contradict your stated endorsements. People have been debating action with people of privilege forever. It has changed very little.

I want you to understand: I know it’s hurtful. I don’t care. Y’all fucked up: you fucked up, and you put your privilege behind privilege and are taking advantage of it to exercise “prudence,” while my friends get harassed by people who view your deliberation as tacit support. This has been explained to you now multiple times. I agree with what my friend said to y’all: “You’re not starting from zero here, you’re starting from ‘those assholes who…’ The part where you had the benefit of the doubt happened days ago when people tried to explain to Kev that language has an impact.”

Your prudence is leading to people harassing my friends, and you express concern that I’m hurting y’all, who are causing it, and on top of that, call yourselves my friends? To paraphrase a friend, I no longer trust you, I have good reason not to, and I’ve put in the time to explain how you’ve screwed up and I wasn’t obliged to. You’re in the doghouse, and if you don’t know that, that’s just another reason for me to warn my friends against you.

In my own words: literally everything more polite than me mockingly repeating your words back at you and then calling you names is more politeness than you deserve, and if you don’t recognize that, you’re already coming at the situation with the wrong perspective.

I’m fairly confident your response at this point will be to sigh and regret that we couldn’t be more civil, and I just want to really emphasize: from my perspective I gave you every chance to be civil and you turned your nose up at the offer. So, I’m no longer really talking to you, and I no longer care if I offend your sensibilities. (And gosh, I hope you appreciate the irony of reaching out to tell me how my words are hurtful, given people doing exactly that is exactly what Kev’s original post was about.)

To again paraphrase my friend, this is in fact why I’m talking to everyone who isn’t you, so they can know what to expect from you based on your past actions and so they can go, “geeze, I don’t want to make these mistakes!” and not make the same mistakes you’re making. But to add my own: I’m also talking to all the people who’ve been hurt or invalidated by your deliberation. I am doing what I can to repair the damage you have caused to my community, and if I hurt you, who did such harm and now stands behind a shield of prudence, so be it.

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My name is emsenn and I wrote this essay for the benefit of the commons. To the extent possible under law, I have waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to it. If you're viewing it on a remote server, you're encouraged to download your own copy. Essays like this are made possible with financial support from readers like you. Thank you. To read more of my work and to learn more about me, visit https://emsenn.net