False Entitlement: Disconnect between FOSS producers and consumers

In Why we need Social Coding there is mention of “False Entitlement” that exist by people that depend on free software. However there is a disconnect on both ends, where developers of free software do not set expectations correctly, and - in the case of misunderstandings - could also do a better job communicating. There are often frustrations on both sides.

On the Fediverse this is seen too in discussions, and often well-intentioned devs are named “fossbro” or worse. Part of Social Coding is to get process and communication such that this toxicity is avoided.

This is a placeholder for a comprehensive explanation of the Challenge to overcome.

Good input to this topic are:

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Various social phenomena are related to ‘entitlement mismatch’ that are detrimental to the FOSS ecosystem as a whole. They are weakening factors of inclusion and diversity, and sense of unity in community.

  • On the Fediverse (and beyond) there’s this meme of the stereotypical “Fossbro”.

    • The stereotype is of people, usually privileged white males, that push technical solutions mostly, jump in other threads and point out ‘impurities’ wrt FOSS approach. They say things like “just self-host this”, which is beyond non-technical folks to do.

    • It is an angry stereotype, mostly used unfairly. Though there are people whom would fit the label, most often it is a mismatch in communication style and maybe social skills that lead to people getting slammed the label (mostly indirectly, without name-calling and on separate threads).

    • It is highly demotivating for those who feel attacked by it.

  • Aggressive or passive-aggressive communication style, once people have determined for themselves that cultural or ethical convention and implicit rules aren’t adhered to properly.

  • Cases where people are justifiably frustrated or angry, because a software truly excludes them from participation.

    • In this category there’s a broad range of Accessibility (a11y) issues.

    • Good example of indignation is a discussion on Codeberg’s (using Gitea) accessibility, where a Captcha cannot be passed by people with vision impairments. A Community issue exists, but wasn’t addressed for well over a year (likely due to sheer amount of other work).

    • Note: This is not ‘entitlement mismatch’, but more a mismatch of expectations. Where a FOSS team really wants to address the flaws, but hasn’t found time to do so yet. Not being hampered by accessiblity issues themself makes it easy to overlook the importance of addressing them properly.

    • Nonetheless angry responses can lead to a lot of toxicity, and weigh heavily on those who feel responsible, as this response by a Codeberg maintainer indicates.

Codeberg accessiblity issues were reason to type this comment. First addressed in forge federation chat, and followed up on Codeberg and in a toot.

I created this topic early on in this social coding initiative, and “False entitlement” isn’t the best name for a challenge that I’d choose now. But patience and slow progress are characterizing the evolution of social coding movement, and that imho is fine. Things are waiting to be processed & improved :blush:

I want to cross-link to the topic just created by @tallship with some great info along similar lines of this challenge: Lesson Plan (No Roadmap) - Paving the path to patience and wisdom

Thank you @tallship :pray:

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I’ve literally never heard that before.

I’ve heard “techbro”, and understand that it’s some kind of pejorative, yet, if someone, preferably from the proprietary Windows or Apple camp, maybe Google or some random silo based data farming social media company, would be so kind as to…

Heck, I might even consider bribing some high profile YouTube creator to publicity label me “FOSSbro” - as it would be an opportunity for me to open a dialog surrounding the dangers of Privacy Invasion and consumer subjugation on the hyper-capitalized, “person=product” market dynamic, followed by unloading a deluge of foreboding facts and statistics surrounding the objectification of people as inventory and an almost complete disregard for their safety and freedoms.

Yup, as a FOSS and Privacy Advocate, calling me a FOSSbro would just be an invitation to disseminate fact based truths to the most vulnerable, and open a door to a way out from much of the serfdom and commodification that everyday people have been reduced to by what I sometimes call, “The Sunnyvale Syndrome”.

FOSSbro… lolz. That’s rich!

I’ll wear that one as a badge of honor.

Thank you for your insight!



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Yes. There’s a problem with these stereotype labels people get slammed on their foreheard. Terms like “FOSSbro” start to have broad-ranging meaning. A range of negatives are associated with the word. It becomes a broad generalization and used in a lazy form of social interaction, often behind someone’s back. It only serves to foster toxicity and deterioration of the social fabric.

Apart from the word, there is a bit of a culture clash at the moment on the Fediverse, where some people draw the line in the sand wrt their interaction with Big Tech and using their tools, versus other people who feel they need to use these tools in order to attract others who aren’t aware of all the ins and outs of the tech harms and surveillance capitalism that come with Big Tech and related culture.

Things are always nuanced. For both sides there are good arguments. I am always in favor of leaving open the middle way, and still have opportunity to drag people into the light through shades of grey. But Big Tech tools make me unfomfortable too :slight_smile:

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in this case,either

  • hire developer, either with your own money or with money from, sponsors
  • monetize your project (sell it to some company)