[Dev] Some doubts about Parabola's donations

fauno fauno at endefensadelsl.org
Thu Apr 6 17:51:28 GMT 2017

aurelien <aurelien at hackers.camp> writes:
> Speaking of people act, the first part of that mail comes from nowhere
> so that mean a private exchange around a public situation.
> The dark corner of the money are just like this:
> "Dark corners are basically fractal—no matter how much you illuminate,
> there’s always a smaller but darker one."   -— Brian Kernighan

here's the account of events:

* it was discussed here on dev list that we needed a build server so we
  can keep i686 alive.

* then Emulatorman sent tct an email cc'ed to me and g4jc with the

* tct said "let me study this and i'll make the arrangements when i get
  an ok from fauno"

* i studied the email Emulatorman sent and saw there were some things
  that were really expensive.  the server was acquired by g4jc already,
  and we were going to buy an ups and a chassis on US and ship
  everything to UY.  the ups costed ~180 usd and the chassis ~95, but
  shipping them would amount to ~400 usd, that to me was a lot of money.

* so we discussed a little on what to do and decided to buy the ups
  locally which was ~160 usd and maybe not buying the chassis but only
  the power unit, since the motherboard is not atx but some other
  standard not readily found in uruguay.  g4jc said he'd buy the chassis
  out of pocket anyway.

* tct offered a ~400 usd machine and colocation on a datacenter he
  trusted in romania.  we told him the server was already bought by

* then Emulatorman said a friend of him was willing to pay directly for
  the shipping cost which was dropped to ~200 usd since we weren't going
  to buy the ups or the chassis, and this somehow involved money from
  his pocket too, but i told him i didn't like for him to use his money
  on this.  he said he wanted to and i was not convinced anyway.

* then he told me g4jc needed 100 usd to deliver the things to his
  address in miamibox, a pobox that receives on miami and delivers to
  uruguay we used in the past under Emulatorman's or a family name, but
  that g4jc wanted the money in btc because he would have tax troubles

* tct reminded us the btc are converted to ron and i asked if they could
  buy btc back, which he said they could on a local exchange.  they have
  to convert everything to ron because of fiscal obligations, so we
  never had 3000 usd as some said.  the value of btc was lower back
  then, around 300 usd each and now it's triple, but they could be 3
  cents as well, given btc unstability.

* g4jc said ceata could also pay for the delivery directly in usd so he
  would only have to print the ups stamp, so there wouldn't be a need to
  send him money or buy btc, and the invoice would be to ceata, which
  always makes things easier for them.

* nothing else happens

* then i'm invited to a tox channel where i read some people basically
  think ceata and tct are keeping the money for themselves and their
  task is to recover it, given their "unwillingness" to make expenses on
  our behalf, which i found ridiculous.  i mention it looks like a coup,
  since it's a secret meeting to form a consensus out of reach from the
  whole community.  i sustain this even if it offended them.

* this meeting is mixed with some good ideas on how to be autonomous and
  earn wages for the work put on, which i applaud, though they were
  mixed with flak towards ceata that is completely unfair.

* i confront them about this and they mention they want to make parabola
  an entity on a tax haven, some money Emulatorman had to spend from
  pocket for fisl and a veiled accusation of stealing parabola funds to

* meanwhile, tct confirms he can buy the ups stamp directly so g4jc can
  just deliver the computer and g4jc agrees.  as of today, tct was still
  waiting for an estimate on weight and size to buy the stamp.

* i checked the gnucash file and it says Emulatorman was reimbursed for
  taxis, food and ac power adapter + 220v converter over a paypal
  transfer of ~200 usd, so the money he said he had to spend from pocket
  because he couldn't get invoices was returned to him from parabola
  funds.  you can look it up under assets > paypal account usd or
  anything that's marked [FISL17] on the gnu cash file attached.

* i sent an earlier version of this email for Emulatorman and others to
  confirm but instead he/they prefered to start this thread.

all of this made me lose sleep over a week, not knowing what kind of
mess i would find every morning, and ultimately made me lose trust on
the people involved.  i believe emulatorman and others' impatience,
impulsiveness and lack of transparency put us in this position, where
ceata rightfully doesn't want to have anything else to do with parabola
and we have to find a new fiscal sponsorship in 60 days.  which i find

i'm not sure about what is my responsibility as delegate towards ceata
in this situation, but i'm sure i don't want to be a front for these
people anymore.  maybe i should've published the gnu cash files earlier,
or move the discussion about the expenses back to this list and just
involve tct privately when we reached an agreement, or explained better
what i meant by a coup, or bring this mess back here when it was just

i don't want to burden anyone with this mess either, so i'll resign when
and if the new fiscal sponsorship is found, unless the community asks me
otherwise.  iirc i made clear my or any delegation can and needs to be
revoked anytime to keep the power on the community and not on individual
persons, appointed or self-appointed.  adhocracy has a limit set on what
the community wants to do and it certainly doesn't mean and ends at

i feel really sad about this, but some things have to be said.  i also
don't think ceata or tct are the ones who have to give explanations to
the community (and "our anonymous donors").

i won't make any suggestions as to which i think are the motivations
here, but i've seen it happen before in several other communities and it
doesn't end nice.  just pay attention to where the +1s come from.

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