Outreachy Internship: Examining cult psychology in free, open source software organizations


Many free, open source software organizations have seen increased tension in the last few years due to cult-like phenomena. Volunteers have complained about the oppressive impact of monocultures and groupthink. The Debian Community News team is offering to mentor an intern under Outreachy or another funding program to explore this problem.

The Debian Community News team is made up of volunteers who have generously offered their time and expertise to facilitate this internship. We are also seeking an additional expert from academia or industry who can complement our competencies in this area.

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Debian, Outreachy, Cult, Scientology

Your profile

Application

Please subscribe to the Debian Project list and send a brief email with the subject Outreachy to introduce yourself. We will then send you an application task by private email.

You can click here to generate the email.

Things to include:

Outreachy, Debian, Cult, Internship

In detail

The project will include analysis of public email records, emails leaked from debian-private, attendance at free software events and potentially interviews with some community members.

The International Cultic Studies Association has published a checklist of Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups. Part of your task will be to evaluate the Debian organization, FSFE, FSF and other free software organizations to see how they score using this or a similar checklist.

We invite you to think carefully about each point on the checklist, for example:

Not every cult corresponds to every point on this checklist. Nonetheless, we feel it is a useful tool for understanding what is going wrong in organizations like Debian.

Debian lynching example

Could this be a cult?

Could you help prevent the next death of a Debian contributor?

Debian Cult Lynching
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