If people decide to spend some time reading what people are posting on Twitter and listening to others, they would see there is a lot more stories than the few mails being discussed.
And people would also see that no one deny RMS vision was world changing. And personally, I tend to even agree with some people on how the 2019 scandal was slightly out of control, in line with what Natalie Wynn explained in her video “Cancelling”. I can get the whole free speech angle.
However, I nonetheless signed the letter, because I also know a lot of people with “stories” about RMS, ranging from “weird but ok” to “I understand how you do not want to be involved in a community that tolerate him”.
I never interacted directly with him, but I can corroborate what happened at Libreplanet on Not The First Time We Tried (FSF, GNU, RMS, etc.) , as I was there.
And that’s not RMS that changed or became cranky with age, you can see ex-FSF employees discussing how RMS was a rather shitty boss in the 2000s ( https://twitter.com/paulnivin/status/1374499598853545986 , https://twitter.com/paulnivin/status/1377079987950395393 ).
This wasn’t also just the FSF, you can see account of the effect of RMS on MIT mailling lists ( https://twitter.com/EyasSH/status/1377238180366258178 & A reflection on the departure of RMS | by Thomas Bushnell, BSG | Medium ), and how it affected newer students.
We can argue what is just, what is free speech or anything. I doubt I am going to convince anyone on that, and I do not have time for that.
But if we sidestep all of this, we still have the very simple question on what is best for the free software movement, a goal that everybody here would agree on.
If a head figure, RMS, is making people silently leave, how can anyone argue that 1 single person is more important than 40 to 50 people or more that would have helped ?
40 to 50 is a very conservative approximation, I think that’s bigger (especially over the years).
But how does losing that much volunteers to keep 1 person in place is helping free software in any way ?