Why I consider Matrix.org’s Abuse team abusive
Matrix , Personal/ 23. April 2022

I’ve been running a Matrix homeserver for a few years now. It’s an interesting technology and the spirit of free open-source messaging (and more!) drew me in. Plus: There are some very nice and interesting people to be virtually met in Matrix! Matrix.org, Matrix’s home, run their own homeserver, of course. In order to deal with spam, harassment, etc. Matrix.org not only gave themselves a Code of Conduct (CoC) but also an abuse team. This Abuse team, though, is something I for one consider harmful and in frequent violation of the CoC they’re charged with supporting. Trying to discuss this leads to being told to email abuse@matrix.org because disussion is regularly squashed in public rooms. This went so far that a certain member of the Abuse team told us, fellow Matrix homeserver operators, “Enough – this conversation is over.” (I call that “Deliberate intimidation“, something their CoC uses as an example for harassment…) in a public room for inter-homeserver coordination. This was especially annoying as we were discussing policy matters, including misconduct… The next action of the Abuse team was to add their Mjolnir instance (a moderation tool) to the room to be able to enforce this authoritarian approach. This…

War in Ukraine
Personal , Politics/ 20. March 2022

On 24 February 2022, Russian armed forces invaded neighbouring Ukraine on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The pretended reasons of the murderous dictator and war criminal Putin are alleged “numerous crimes committed against the civilian population, including citizens of the Russian Federation”, the demilitarisation and “denazification” of Ukraine, and NATO’s eastward expansion. None of this is true and there is no justification for the invasion by Putin, his government and his military. In my opinion, it is therefore only to be welcomed that large parts of the free world are supporting Ukraine with sanctions, military and humanitarian aid and many other measures. At the same time, Ukraine is constantly negotiating with the aggressor Russia in order to find a peaceful solution. I doubt this will work, because Putin clearly only understands the language of violence. For this reason, the West’s support for Ukraine does not go far enough for me: in Ukraine, in Europe, people are fighting not only for their freedom, their values and their lives, but also for us, for all of Europe. For the freedom of all of us. A brutal mass murderer like Putin, who has political opponents murdered or locked away in camps,…

2021 in books
Book Review , Personal/ 1. January 2022

2021 on Goodreads by Various My rating: 4 of 5 stars As I look back on reading in 2021 I find another mixed bag: Just like in 2020, my average rating was a mere 3.5 Goodreads tells me and that feels about right. The year started on a high and hopeful note when Amanda Gorman recited her poem “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country” at Biden’s inauguration. If Gorman’s ideas took hold, we’d really “raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.” The older I get the more difficult I find it to adapt to change. At the same time I realise a lack of adaption inevitably leads to obsolescence – in this case, my own. Thus, I was both challenged and delighted when my personal book of the year 2021, the unforgettable “Girl, Woman, Other” by Bernardine Evaristo, stormed against my own perceptions and prejudices and while not blowing them away, changing them. Helping me change. Also highly emotionally moving and absolutely brilliant was the revised and updated collection of the “New York Times” column collection by Daniel Jones: “Modern Love, Revised and Updated: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” Next to Evaristo’s novel,…

2020 in books
Personal/ 1. January 2021

2020 on Goodreads by Various My rating: 4 of 5 stars If you consider the fact that I usually don’t read books that have an average rating below 4.00 on GoodReads, you’ll find when looking at my year in books that I actually awarded 3.5 stars on average. That makes a lot of sense to me as 2020 has been a difficult year on many levels for me. I read the amazing “Herkunft” by Saša Stanišić, though, and that was definitely one of the highlights of my reading year. Looking things over, I remember how travel-memoir writer Tony James Slater rekindled my interest in science fiction by writing his series “The Ancient Guardians” of which I read the final instalments in 2020, e. g. Warden’s Fate. Those led me to the unforgettable “Murderbot Diaries” by Martha Wells which I’ve practically devoured! Encouraged by these reading experiences, I decided to move on to “Leviathan Wakes” of the “The Expanse” series by James S.A. Corey. I was struggling with it as you can read in my review but I came to love the characters, the world and the way Corey injects a tiny ray of hope into the bleakest of situations. I’ve…

Ridiculously happy!
Personal/ 24. December 2020

I just got mail and – just as the title says – I’m ridiculously happy! Thank you, Genevieve!

Danke, liebes Universum!
Personal/ 13. September 2020

Ich bin gebürtiger Niedersachse – sturmfest und erdverwachsen. Vor über 20 Jahren verschlug es mich hierher – und ich verfluchte mein Schicksal! Ausgerechnet die Pfalz! Mein “südliches Exil”, wie ich es jahrelang nannte. (Wobei “der Süden” bekanntlich südlich von Göttingen beginnt!) Die Menschen in der Pfalz sprechen seltsam. Jahrelang habe ich sie bitten müssen, langsam und deutlich zu sprechen. Denn “Pälzer” haben für ganz banale Dinge ganz merkwürdige Namen: “Grumbeer” sagen sie zur Kartoffel (und wenn sie nur genug aus ihrem “Dubbeglas” getrunken haben, sprechen sie auch schon mal mit ihren Grumbeern). (Und fangen wir gar nicht erst mit dem “Monnemerisch” jenseits des Rheins an…) Meinen Kindern habe ich jedweden Sprachfehler/Dialekt verboten und dies nötigenfalls mittels Strafe (meist blieb es aber bei Androhung derselben) durchgesetzt. Mit den Jahren wurde ich milder: Kleine Dialekt-Sünden wurden erst vergeben, dann übersehen. Dann begann, langsam, schleichend, lange unbemerkt, die Assimilation… Aber man will ja kein Dibbelschisser sein – oder gar piensen. In Wahrheit aber haben die Pfälzer immer mehr Rücksicht auf mich genommen als umgekehrt. Das nämlich zeichnet sie aus: Sie sind warmherzig und großzügig. Gesellig und häufig entwaffnend direkt.  Sie haben meine hochdeutsche Arroganz zumeist übersehen und meine Familie und mich herzlich aufgenommen….