Re: Shouldn't have to ask; well run orgs already know
The lack of data is not a data point - anybody in the project can do the work to gather data, they just can't be bothered. Instead they make assertions with nothing at all to back them up and demand action to address these unfounded assertions. If people think renewal is the answer, why don't they do the legwork to gather anything at all to back up their claims before demanding action?
"They could run a survey, hold a vote, etc."
...and they don't because?? I think you accidentally that whole sentence.
"Of course the other hundreds of stakeholders that didn't speak up are free to sign their own petition"
The other hundreds of stakeholders aren't demanding change. The onus is on the people who want change to show a single shred of evidence that a) change is necessary and b) their proposed change will have the intended effect.
"it appears RMS is free to reject the call to go."
He sure is. And one of the beauties of free software is that these 18 (or 22, whatever, it's still a small percentage) are free to fork and start new projects under whatever management structure they like, where pink unicorns can run free in the fields and they can scream shrilly about the injustices of calling software "master" and "slave" in an idealogical echo chamber while the rest of us get actual work done.
"But I wouldn't assume everyone who didn't sign on didn't agree with the need for change; maybe they were reluctant to speak out, hoped RMS would do the decent thing without them having to nail their colours to the mast."
Don't you think some data to might help you to know whether there's any truth to this unfounded speculation? Perhaps gather people's actual opinions, perhaps in an anonymous way, rather than speculating wildly about something you have no real information on?
"I'm not suggesting a veto has been invoked over discussions"
So you're saying that project members are free take the time to gather even the slightest shred of evidence to back up their assertions, and they just haven't bothered doing that. Right. Thanks for clarifying.
"long standing leaders shape their organisation's cultures and the leadership around them. That has its own influence on the openness of the culture, particularly when it comes to challenging the leader."
I'm afraid I'm now going to have to ask you to show even a single piece of data indicating that the GNU project's culture is insufficiently open. It seems to me that when an organisation has 22 (and counting) individuals demanding the leader's head with nothing at all to back it up, that's a pretty open organisation.
Even if it wasn't, these people could set up an anonymous opinion poll accessible via tor. And remain anonymous about who set up the poll. And create an anonymous email account and post to the mailing list about the poll anonymously. and post the results to the mailing list anonymously. And set up an anonymous website calling for his head anonymously. They could be totally anonymous and smile to RMS's face while they stab him in the back, if that's really how they feel about it. And then perhaps they might end up with some data to back up their assertions which might convince a rational and dispassionate person, rather than screaming shrilly about how they feel.