cr> Re: Online PR: consensus


Craig A. Johnson


On 27 Mar 96 at 17:56, Marilyn Davis wrote:

> Andy wrote:
> > We have been indulging in some highly idealistic discussions of
> > Internet sovereignty and democratic pricing schemes on this list, but
> > I'd like to put out a request that we all spend more time responding
> > to contemporary, urgent decisions that are being made right now and
> > which could affect development of the Internet for the next several
> > decades.
> Yes.  It's good to respond to governmental attacks as best we can.
> However, if we only fight defensively, we can only lose ground, never
> gain.  We need to take the offensive if we want to take control of the
> future.

We are clearly not "only fighting defensively" Marilyn.  We are one 
of the lead plaintiffs in the ACLU v. Reno suit, we are drafting a 
comment on the ACTA petition to stop Net telephony dead in its 
tracks, and we are considering doing one on the FCC implementation of 
the "universal service" part of the telecom law.  I would say this is 
taking the offensive rather aggressively.

> Our best attack is to affect public opinion.  When Hollywood had a
> blacklist, opponents of the list eliminated the list by consciously
> converting public opinion, not by struggling with the proponents of
> the blacklist.  We should follow their successful example.  That's
> why a press release of a consensus statement from this group would
> be useful.

I think the list is lost on how this idea emerged.  I know I am.  I
must have missed some critical e-mail or something.  


> Yes, there's endless discussion with no particular purpose on
> thousands of mailing lists but our discussion will not be endless and
> we have a ground-breaking purpose: to find a consensus statement.

Again, why and how was e-mail access chosen?  I certainly was not 
involved in the process.  It seems to me you're jumping the gun a 

> > (So I'm going to post the latest crop, but ask people to take the
> > general debate to private email from now on.  In further postings to
> I hope you'll be a bit generous about this.  Our process necessarily
> involves some off-subject banter.  If we must take the consensus
> process to private email, it's no longer a consensus and this
> potentially powerful project is off.

To repeat, the co-leadership of Cyber Rights has made no decision to 
undertake this "project."  It seems to me it is useful to get 
consensus among the leadership before you move on to a premature 
draft of a statement.  

> People might do well to bear in mind that to block consensus, you must
> present an argument specific to the proposal under consideration.
> Otherwise you are only being disruptive to the process and, in a face
> to face meeting, risk expulsion.

Well, that may be true in *some* meetings but "expulsion" will not be 
an option on this list as long as I'm a co-leader.  I think it's 
reckless and damaging to consider contributions which engage in 
criticizing some semi-manufactured "consensus" as "disruptive to the 
process."   Anyone read Arthur Koestler's "Darkness at Noon" 
lately?  There will be no censorship on Cyber Rights for anyone who 
posts relevant content!  

> Joe Shea wrote:
> > >   By its very nature, it must be a secret society, closed to the
> > >thousands of spies they will send to join it. On the technical end, let's
> •••@••.••• responded:
> > okay a secret society.  this does not speak of a democracy.
> > 
> > imagine for a moment that it does, though:  who chooses who joins and who is
> > in on the secret?  is this not just another kind of regulation?
> You are right.  Joe's secret society is the society of hackers who
> build the technology to subvert the government's attempts at
> controlling the internet.



> Does something like the following draft work better for Martin and
> Glen and perhaps still carry Richard and others?


Now, that I've finally seen what you're proposing (don't know how I 
missed it before), I will reply later with substantive comments 

Marilyn, this "project" hasn't even achieved consensus among the 
co-leaders of Cyber Rights, let alone among all the members.  I think 
we need a thorough discussion on this before proceeding presumptively 
with some "press release."

BTW, are you aware that the FCC is considering "Internet access" as 
part of its proceeding on "universal service?"  Have you read the 
Joint Board order and NPRM issued March 8, summarized well by Andy, 
and available at the FCC's web site -- <>?

Best wishes,



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