Re: cr> Online PR: consensus


Sender: •••@••.••• (Marilyn Davis)

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

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.

Andy also said:

> of capitalism.  While each person's beliefs about these issues will
> naturally determine his or her reaction to the Internet debate, we
> cannot discuss the more general issues ad infinitum.  That is what
> happens on thousands of mailing lists and newsgroups all over the
> Internet, and it never succeeds in convincing anyone to change
> opinions--only in driving people away.  You'll also note that the

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.

> (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.

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.

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.

This group has no reasons to keep secrets.  The more open and
democratic we are, the more effective we'll be at swaying public
opinion our way.


Thank you to Martin Janzen and Glen Raphael for their objections.
I'm now much clearer about where we want to go.

Martin, do you mean that dictating that the internet be paid for by
the bit rather than by some other scheme impinges on people's right to
a consensual activity?  Do you mean the ISP and the customer?  They
should be free to set their own pricing scheme for the service?

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


We, the 500 members of the cyber-rights email list, agree by consensus

1.  Email is the communication/cooperation superhighway, completely
distinct from the information/entertainment superhighway.

2.  Email is the backbone of grassroots online organizing and holds
great promise as a democracy-enhancer.

3.  Email demands a miniscule amount of resources delivered at low
priority compared to information/entertainment applications.  Any
scheme that bases price on resources used and makes entertainment
affordable will render email almost free, as it should be.

4.  If a minimum charge per session or per transaction is applied,
only email will be affected and it will be seen as a direct attack by
government on online democracy.

Therefore, *if* the government regulates the price of internet access,
the regulation must guarantee continued cheap or free access to email.


Thank you DicedPupys (•••@••.•••) for volunteering:

> as to the press release issue, i can receive, by email,
> from the rest of us:
> 1.  email addresses
> 2.  fax numbers
> 3.  snail mail addresses

I hate to see one person take responsibility for everything.  If
you collect email addresses, I can put them on a list so that the
press release goes out to all in one blow.

> i can fax for area code (410).

If there are other faxing volunteers, perhaps you, as the fax list
keeper, will also keep the list of volunteers by area code so we
can coordinate this.

> i would be an excellent choice for 'layout work' and perhaps for some of the
> materials too, although this will depend on the volume.


> i'm probably not a good choice for a phone rep since i rollerblade frequently,
> although receiving email isn't a problem.

If we go for the simpler consensus statement, I could commit to be a
phone rep for some specified number of days if I'm warned in advance.
Marilyn                               *
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