$5,000 cash bounty for finding the trolls
In July 2018, a volunteer told the Debian Project Leader, Chris Lamb that extraordinary personal circumstances impacted his voluntary role in Debian that year.
A few months later, he publicly asked Lamb why there was gossip and Lamb wrote in a public response to the community:
You are well-aware that I have been nothing but scrupulous and gentlemanly with regards to your personal privacy ... for the avoidance of all doubt, I repudiate your suggestions in the strongest possible terms and I cordially invite you to withdraw your statements
A EUR 500 cash bounty was offered for any evidence of a privacy breach. In our hands, we have a message Lamb himself had sent to somebody outside Debian on 20 September 2018, shortly after a volunteer told him about those personal circumstances. This was no accidental leak by some underling. Lamb had deliberately violated the privacy of a volunteer's family, he did so for a political purpose, he was unrepentant and when the volunteer had the courage to question the matter publicly, Lamb denied it and ridiculed this volunteer. That was a lie to the entire community.
When you consider the effort that this volunteer has contributed over so many years, Lamb's breaches are unacceptable. Since Lamb's actions, there have been an avalanche of privacy leaks and fake news. Could this be the trickle-down impact of poor leadership?
So many people put their trust in the Debian operating system to run their most critical IT infrastructure. A volunteer trusted the DPL when telling him things, he felt transparency was important for us to work together as a team. People in leadership roles sometimes feel that trust gives them the entitlement to behave as they wish. On Sunday, 8 March, Sam Hartman used the Debian Bug Tracking System, his blog, Planet Debian, debian-project and his title as Debian Project Leader to double down on those violations of a family's privacy and also publish gossip, fake news and an accusation of trolling without attempting to provide any credible evidence. It's not good enough.
A criminal prosecution, an academic paper or a diagnosis of coronavirus all need evidence and facts. When somebody uses their title alone to declare something to be true, it dilutes the organization's reputation, just as printing money dilutes the money's value. That is only one step away from forgery after all.
Trolls regularly find ways to have fake news shared and re-tweeted on social media. It appears that various trolls have discovered fault lines in Debian, discovering how to push the buttons of two successive Debian Project Leaders and induce them into betraying their own volunteers.
We're now offering a $5,000 bounty for genuine evidence of the identities of all the trolls who sent forged emails and conspiracies in FSF, Debian, FSFE and other communities. If there is no evidence, it is time for Sam Hartman and Chris Lamb to withdraw their attacks on volunteers and their families. Let's end this unethical shaming and gaslighting experiment that has been going on for 540 days now. After all, many people would like to be able to trust Debian without the doubts created by this gossip. Please send your evidence and claim for the bounty to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the event somebody wins the bounty, we intend to pay it immediately and then recover costs from Sam Hartman and his company, Painless Security, LLC.
Integrity is priceless. For everything else, please follow the Uncensored Debian Planet site with your browser home page or your favourite feed reader.