cr> Who’s the moderator?


Andy Oram

Since I have just returned to moderating this mailing list, it's 
a good time to tell you about why I am doing the work and 
what my own view of the issues is.  If you are just interested 
in the facts and don't care about personalities, go ahead and 
hit your delete key.  This mail is for people who are curious 
about their moderator is and the criteria that drive the list.

How I got to be moderator

    There was no great search committee or democratic process
    involved.  Richard K. Moore started this list for Computer
    Professionals for Social Responsibility and moderated it for about
    three months.  He knew me from some help I'd given on some
    documents, and when he went on vacation I volunteered to moderate
    for a while.  Then we discovered that I liked doing it and that he
    was busier than he originally thought, so I kept moderating until
    my auto accident last November.

    Still, I have some qualifications for moderator.  I've been a
    member of CPSR for six or seven years and helped to organize some
    events in the Boston area; I've talked to many leading members and
    absorbed the positions of the organization, which has spent years
    developing an advanced and comprehensive position on policies
    regarding the information infrastructure.

What I want from this group

    You should be informed that I have high expectations for this
    mailing list; there are a lot of issues I want us to cover.  If
    your goals and philosophy are a lot different from mine, don't
    worry--my main goal is to bring together people with many
    different goals and philosophies!  All to have productive
    discussions of the rights enumerated on our Web page.

    It makes me excited to hear people hold social and political
    discussions, developing their positions and deciding to take
    action.  This is the one of the highest forms of participation in
    society.  And this mailing list is an example of how it can be
    done with great efficiency and a sense of inclusion.  To see
    computers and telecom equipment used in pursuit of that goal seems
    much more significant than to lull the masses through light
    entertainment or to transfer records from one bureaucracy to
    another--although I have no quarrel with people wanting to do
    those things too.

    I think our sense of culture and community will be built more and
    more through electronic media in the decades to come, and I'd like
    the environment to support talks like we have here.  That is, our
    type of communication should not be excluded from the network of
    the future.  As you all know from postings on this group, the
    danger of exclusion is great.

    We've heard lots about censorship.  I don't want to trivialize
    that problem, but I want us to branch out toward other (more
    complex and more multi-sided) issues of economic development and
    its social consequences.  The U.S.  telecommunications reform bill
    brought all the issues to the fore, and we were not that well
    prepared to intervene.

    Who will control what people get to see on their TVs and to hear
    on their telephone lines?  Where will the money come from to
    create content and to deliver it?  Will we be able to connect to
    each other as one huge community, or will we be sectioned off into
    separate groups (with access denied to some)?

    I consider places of public congregation and discussion, including
    channels of communication, as critical public goods that require
    protection and good management.  This is not the dominant view
    nowadays.  More people say that companies should create and own
    the media and that market forces will create the best possible
    media in terms of costs and functions.  But whatever your point of
    view, it is worth discussing what you want the media to offer and
    support.  We will have to live not only with, but in, whatever

What this mailing list can accomplish

    On this list we engage in discussion, but discussion should lead
    to action.  Each of us should decide what we want to do and how
    much effort each of us can put in.  I'd like to remind you all
    that CPSR furnishes the resources for this mailing list, so I see
    it as a place to help CPSR develop its positions.  While our main
    direction has been laid out in CPSR papers and newsletters,
    dissenting voices are very important to help us avoid going down
    dead-end alleys out of ideological purity.

    This is not an action list, however.  Every once in a while
    someone tries to get people to work together toward some practical
    action, and not much response comes back.  I think the list is too
    loose and casual to be a place for developing tactical approaches.
    Furthermore, we have to keep traffic on the list down, and
    therefore cannot devote a lot of space to tactical organization
    around any one issue.  Instead, people who are energetic enough to
    lead a campaign should ask here for people interested in
    participating to join a smaller group that can exchange mail
    frequently and take action flexibly.

My other activities

    At my day job, I'm an editor at O'Reilly & Associates.  We are a
    publisher (mostly of computer books) who started in UNIX, went on
    to publish books on the X Window System, put out the first
    best-selling book about the Internet ("The Whole Internet" by Ed
    Krol), and have since branched off into many other areas.

    While none of that sounds particularly political, there is a basic
    ethical approach to our authors and our readers that I hope
    matches what I'm trying to do with the Cyber Rights mailing list.
    We have become known as honest purveyors of information, a place
    people can go to find out how a computer system really works
    without hype or fudging.  To deal with systems as they really
    work, that is my goal both at work and on this list.  If you want
    to see more about me personally, check out


 Posted by Andrew Oram  - •••@••.••• - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)
   CyberJournal:  (WWW or FTP) -->
 Materials may be reposted in their _entirety_ for non-commercial use.