Removing FarceBook dependencies from FCC

I note a number of folks expressing their frustrations with FarceBook being normalized as the platform for FCC local groups. A quick search turned up threads on this topic started by @nilabja10201992, @nicklocicero, @brucellino, @redhorse59, and @kryptyk. I find this weird and concerning too, as I explained in my comment on the thread started by @kryptyk.

It also bothers me that the most common response is to suggest we set up a fake FB account just for FCC comms, which is a bit like a recovering alcoholic explaining their discomfort with having meetups in bars, and being told that having a social drink isn’t really drinking. It completely ignores the many, many good reasons people have for not wanting to be used by FB (and that article was written in 2015!). It ignores that teaching people to code by writing demo integrations with FB (or goOgle) is ethically dubious, at best.

In 2018, a non-profit whose mission is to teach people to write free code, so they can participate in open source projects, needs to be doing everything it can to avoid any association with FB and other proprietary, walled gardens. I’m starting this thread as a space to discuss these various dependencies in FCC, how to remove them, and what to replace them with. This could include some discussion of existing replacement services run by the software freedom and open source communities, and package that could be self-hosted by FCC for us by participants, if we can figure out how to finance the hosting and find reliable volunteers to sysadmin them.

Local groups are completely self-organised and people just use what they know best / what is most used. But you already know that.

Judging from the other comment you also seem to be misunderstanding the FCC acronym. It’s not aiming to be a bootcamp for FLOSS, but a FLOSS bootcamp. So pragmatism beats any evangelism.


This is disingenuous. As a new FCC user, when I got to the local groups challenge, joining or forming a group on FB was explicitly recommended, and no alternatives were even suggested. It’s clearly not a case of self-organised groups just picking their preferred tool. If it was, not all the groups would be on FB.

FCC has an opportunity to introduce people learning to code to the free code platforms that are available. If they still choose to use FB, well, that’s their funeral, and I’m not proposing to police that. I’m proposing to fix the FCC curicculum so that FB is no longer recommended as the default prison camp … er … host for FCC local groups, and fix the groups list so it’s platform agnostic. I think this is perfectly pragmatic.

I hope you’re already rich, dude. The way you talk to people, especially people you want to do things for free, leaves a very bad taste in the mouth. You lost your audience almost immediately, and then chased them out of the room with your response to the person who replied to you.

To be clear, I agree with you on the Facebook problem. But, if you read the article and all out-linked articles, you will see that the “Like button” problem affects everyone who doesn’t work entirely out of a history-less browser. That probably includes you.

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The way you talk to people …

I’m really confused. I’ve reread both my OP and my reply, and I think they were perfectly civil. Please, walk me through what you think the problem is with the way I express my concerns.

especially people you want to do things for free

I’m happy to participate in doing the work. I just thought it was better to have an open and honest conversation about the issues, before I waste my time and the maintainers’ making pull requests that might be unwelcome. I suspected that criticizing FB and proposing replacements might touch some raw nerves, and it seems I was right.

you will see that the “Like button” problem affects everyone who doesn’t work entirely out of a history-less browser. That probably includes you.

Yes, I’m aware. The fact that it affects all users, not just those who choose to use FB, is another very good reason to discourage people from embedding any part of FB in their site.

Dude, I hate to say this, but you have a record of what you said right above you: If you consider your behavior civil, I don’t know what to tell you. Every single post I have seen here in my 7 weeks on this is supportive (or beseeching). Your tone is literally the exception.

I thought hard about continuing this part of my response, because the only way I could do this was to condescend to you, but since you asked, here is the RIGHT way to present your ideas:
“Given that Facebook has a long history of violating the privacy settings of their users, and the recent snafu of the level of disclosure that friends of users can authorize, we should consider the idea of using another, less anti-consumer, platform. This has the twin benefits of allowing new users to familiarize themselves with more open-source software, and alerts them to the importance of internet security from the beginning of their journey with FCC.”

And to respond to first replier, “That is a problem, but given the #deletefacebook movement, we could have some of the more senior devs who organize the local groups take leadership on the migration.”

I hope you can see the difference.

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FWIW I don’t think you were being rude. And I share your reservations about Facebook. Not wanting to deal with it is probably the main reason why I’m not involved in my local FCC group. (Also it’s not that active in the first place but that’s another issue.)

However right now the biggest item on the plates of the FCC maintainers is getting the last issues with the beta site resolved. I would rather they spent their time on that and perhaps come back to this later. In the grand scheme of things this is a “nice to have” not a showstopper.

What good is suggesting something completely alien and unused by the target audiences? FCC could mention no tech there and most groups would still end up on facebook.

Not really. AFAICT you just restated the same thing I said in slightly different words. I’m still genuinely confused about what was wrong with the way I said it. I honestly meant no offence, I just noted that a number of people feel the same way as I do, and opened up a space to discuss what could be done about it.

I literally just joined a few days ago. If there are written rules about the right and wrong ways to phrase things here, I’d be happy to read them. Could you point me in the right direction? If there are unwritten rules , I hope I’ll pick them up as I spend more time here.

Fair enough. I certainly don’t want to push the maintainers to adopt my priorities, which is why I thought a thread here might be a better place to start a discussion than a GitHub Issue.

I thought maybe those of us who share the anti-FB sentiment could work together on identifying all the FB dependencies in FCC, collaborate on some replacements, and make some pull requests. That way, all the maintainers have to do is decide, in their own time, if or when to merge them.

Is it possible to turn on the Discourse groups feature in order to create groups for local fCC branches? People can request to join or be invited to the group after attending a face-to-face meeting or something like that. Discourse groups would be better than Facebook, Twitter, Mastadon, Slack, Mattermost, Rocket Chat, etc…