PsyOps 007: Paul Tagliamonte wanted Debian Press Team to have license to kill
We publish a fresh email from Paul Tagliamonte, the White House staff member who encouraged fellow Debianists to defame Dr Appelbaum. This email is the strongest yet, while most volunteers wanted to remain neutral, Tagliamonte was calling for the Press team to make these hits without consulting the volunteers at all.
Please see the WIPO dossier for more details on the PsyOps exercise
Subject: Re: Expulsion of Jacob Appelbaum
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2016 07:37:43 -0400 From: Paul R. Tagliamonte To: Russell Coker CC: Debian Private List Seems like a thing the Press team could help coordinate. On Jun 21, 2016 7:27 AM, "Russell Coker" > wrote: http://www.itwire.com/business-it-news/open-source/73441-appelbaum-banned-from-debian-events-after-sexual-misconduct-charges.html Well the DPL has decided to go public about it after all. In future I think it would be better to have a plan for these things. To have an argument on this list about whether information should be released while the DPL is sending it all to a journalist isn't the way things should go. On 21 June 2016 8:57:56 PM AEST, Jonathan Dowland > wrote: >Please do not CC me, I am subscribed to the list. > >On Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 08:04:01PM +1000, Russell Coker wrote: >> Mattia suggests that it's already public that he was expelled for >anyone who >> knows how to interpret it. >> >> Why can't we just state it outright instead of leaving clues in >Wikipedia? >> The social contract says that we won't hide problems. Why are we >trying to >> hide this problem? > >I don't think Debian has taken ownership of whatever is written on >Wikipedia, >but we certainly aren't hiding it: It's there on the NM page in plain >sight. >There's a big difference between hiding something and making an active >effort >to draw attention to it. > >The action that has been taken has been for the sake of the safety and >well >being of other Debian members, NOT as some kind of white-knight >publicity >stunt. There's no *need* to shout it from the rooftops as that does not >further the former goal. -- Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with K-9 Mail.
How to wreck your organization with PsyOps techniques, from the OSS Simple Sabotage Field Manual
This email was sent on public mailing lists and responses are available there. What was Tagliamonte's real aim in circulating this? Was it an example of boasting about the second expulsion of Dr Norbert Preining?
Subject: History doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2022 12:29:53 -0500 From: Paul Tagliamonte
To: Debian Devel , email@example.com Hello, Debianites, Allow me, if you will, to talk a bit about something that's been on my mind a bit over the last handful of years in Debian. It's something that's pretty widely circulated in particular circles, but I don't think I've seen it on a Debian list before, so here's some words that I've decided to put together. I've intentionally not drawn lines to the 'discussions' going on (or the 'discussions' in the past I could point to) to avoid getting dragged into more thrash, so if you reply, please do try to keep this clear of any specific argument that you feel this may or may not apply to. This is a more general note that I think could use some thought from anyone who's interested. During World War II, the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) distributed a manual (the Simple Sabotage Field Manual), which was used to train "citizen-saboteur" resistance fighters, some of whom were told, not to pick up arms, but to confound the bureaucracy by tying it up with an unmanageable tangle of "innocent" behavior. While no one is working within the Debian community member attempting to subvert us sent from the shady conglomerate of nonfree operating systems by following this playbook, this playbook is an outstanding illustration of how some innocent behavior can destroy the effectiveness of an organization. It's effective, precisely *because* it's not overly malicious, and these behaviors -- while harmful -- are explainable or innocent. Section (3) covers this in detail. Most of the OSS Simple Sabotage Field Manual covers things like breaking equipment or destroying tanks, but section (11) is "General Interference with Organizations and Production". I'm just going to focus here. Let's take a look at section (11): > (1) Insist on doing everything through "channels." Never permit short-cuts > to be taken in order to expedite decisions. > > (2) Make "speeches." Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. > Illustrate your "points" by long anecdotes and accounts of personal > experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate "patriotic" comments. > > (3) When possible, refer all matters to committees for "further study and > consideration." Attempt to make committees as large as possible -- never > less than five. > > (4) Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible. > > (5) Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions. > > (6) Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to > re-open the advisability of that decision. > > (7) Advocate "caution." Be "reasonable" and urge your fellow co-conferees to > be "reasonable" and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or > difficulties later on. > > (8) Be worried about the propriety of any decision - raise the question of > whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of > the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher > echelon. I won't go through each of these point-by-point since everyone reading this is likely sharp enough to see how this relates to Debian (although I will point out I find it particularly interesting to replace "patrotic" here with the Debian-specific-patriotism -- Debianism? -- and re-read some of the more heated threads) I have a theory of large organizations I've been thinking a lot about that came from conversations with a colleague, which is to think about an organization's "metabolic overhead" -- i.e., the amount of energy that an organization devotes to intra-organization communication. If you think about a car manufacturing plant, the "metabolic overhead" is all the time spent on things like paperwork, communication, planning. It's not possible (or desirable!) for an organization to have 0% overhead, nor is it desirable (although this one *is* possible) to spend 100% time on overhead. I think it *may* be possible to get to above 100% overhead, if workplace contention spills out into drinks after work. All of the points in the OSS Simple Sabotage Manual are things designed to increase the metabolic overhead of an organization, and to force organization members to spend time *not* doing their core function (like making cars, running trash pickup or ensuring the city has electricity), but rather, spend their time litigating amongst themselves as the core function begins to become harder and harder to maintain. This has the effect of degrading the output/core function of an organization, without any specific cause (like a power loss, etc). I'd ask those who are reading this to consider how this relates to their time spent in Debian. Is what you find something you're happy about with a hobby project you're choosing to spend your free time on? Are you taking actions to be a good participant? To do a bit of grandstanding myself, do remember that it's not just your time here -- when we spend significant resources litigating and playing bureaucracy games, we spend others' time as well. People on the committees you refer matters to, all project members in the case of a GR, all the Mailing List readers -- and that's all time that is taken from building and maintaining an operating system. The output becomes degraded. There's no specific acute cause like a buildd failure. When I think about how Simple Sabotage works, I find myself unable to shake the feeling that the best way to combat the organizational dysfunction outlined in the OSS's Simple Sabotage Manual is to avoid "taking the bait", and to ensure small, highly empowered teams of do-ers are able to execute. We need to avoid being dragged into development by consensus -- while understanding that communication and collaboration are good. We need to ensure that individuals that continue to exhibit the behaviors contained within the Simple Sabotage Manual understand the harm that can come from a system of individuals taking actions like them -- even if their intent is sincere and come from a constructive, helpful place. In some cases, ignoring the "sabotage" outright will work, in other cases, perhaps a gentile and respectful private note letting them know that their suggestion is actively harmful and to consider not doing it again. Engaging publicly makes things worse, since it will continue to suck people's time into litigating the "sabotage" (which is, itself, becomes "sabotage"). Taking an expensive action (like referring to a committee, re-opening an old decision, arguing about the precising wording and associated pedantry, and questioning the authority of those doing work) should only be done if the cost outweighs the benefit. We don't need to be hostile or expel people for doing things outlined in the OSS Simple Sabotage Manual, since a lot of that behavior is -- at times -- desirable, but I think we do need a *LOT* of self-reflection (from *everyone* who actively engages with Debian politics) to consider our actions, and determine how (if at all) we feel that we (as individuals) should change. Please don't beat eachother up with this calling each other saboteurs and claiming that everyone's emails are "sabotage", but please do consider using this mental framework when looking at our discussions from time to time. With love! paultag : Of its many notable members, Julia Child was the first one I think of -- yes, that Julia Child! : https://www.gutenberg.org/files/26184/page-images/26184-images.pdf : //maybe// not the best word, but I'm using it here for internal consistency