Re: * Do we have to put up with abuse? *


(Note from moderator: some people feel very strongly about the list's
atmosphere, but others just want to get some news every day and don't
care how the list is conducted.  I've decided, after discussions with
Audrie Krause at the CPSR national office, not to post any more
messages on whether Craig or Richard or anybody else did the right or
wrong thing.  However, I received a number of interesting messages
about general principles that people would like to see governing
behavior on mailing lists.  I will post these here, and ask people to
drop the subject of list etiquette and purpose.--Andy)

Sender: •••@••.•••

Dear c-r:

Sorry for more of same, but I guess I want to get my two cents worth in,
rather than get the fire extinguishers out.  Isn't that what freedom of speech
means?  But along with personal freedom comes personal responsibility.

Here are a few suggestions that help me to gain insight in my dealings with

1.  To preserve an open mind, I frequently say, "You could be right."  And then
    I think about it in those terms.

2.  I have tried to change my language patterns to always say, "I disagree."
    instead of "You are wrong."  It makes all the difference in the world in
    how I am perceived (and listened to).  Since my goal is to communicate,
    I have found that this language is much more effective.

With the personal freedom of speech, the personal responsibility that
accompanies the freedom is to become skillful in its use (at least _one_ of
the responsibilities, that is).

Also, new ideas cannot be grafted onto a closed mind.

By the way, I object to Marilyn's statement, and I do not believe any reason
needs to be given for the objection to be valid.  But I will reveal that my
main objection is that the statement would be held out as a consensus, when
it clearly is not.  I think such a statement will end up generating more heat
than light.

The basic problem is not new;  the problem is the usurpation of my freedom of
speech, and this is an ancient and ongoing battle.  It is not just "us against
the government", but is as basic as my learning self-discipline and respect so
that _I_ do not usurp anyone else's freedoms, period.  First, I must learn to
clean my own side of the street.  When I criticize others' communications and
ideas, first I must look at my motives in doing so.  Is it a desire for control
spawned by fear (usually that I am not good enough)?  Or ego?  If so, I need
to rethink my responsibilities, so that I do not become guilty of the very
evil that I am fighting against.

All of this takes maturity and personal spiritual growth, IMHO.  I constantly
work on it, and it is not easy for me.  But, open communication between myself
and others is the only way I can get those new ideas, if I can only take the
time to listen, think, and respond from the right motives.  Kindness and
gentleness are strengths, not weaknesses.  I think this is where Netiquette is
a very useful greases the mechanisms of the Internet society and
thus makes for more efficient workings.  I think Heinlein said the same thing
about manners, didn't he?  The first thing to go in a society in decline...?

Anyway, it's late, but there's about two cents worth, and as always,

Thanks for listening,
Connie Page


Sender: •••@••.••• (Marilyn Davis)
Subject: Re: Online PR: consensus

Dear Friends,

I think the answer to our problems is a new, more democratic list, an
experimental adjunct to cyber-rights.  The intention of the second
list will be to decide these important issues and publicize our
decisions.  We'll try to grow as big and as fast as we can.  We can
make our own rules.

Andy, Richard, Craig, Arun, and other CPSR leaders, will CPSR *please*
sponsor an eVoted list for this purpose?  It's $50 set-up and
$20/month.  In a few months, eVote 2.0 will be released and CPSR can
run it at forever for $80.


Glen Raphael sent me a particularly long post from this list that he
guessed that I missed.  Indeed I did!  My own stuff was first and I
forgot how the posts are strung together.  :^] I remember being
disappointed in the response at that time.  Not now!

The various posts had several exciting other suggestions for a
consensus statement.

And, I'm convinced!  Now my favorite consensus statement (from the
adjunct list) is:

-- from Glen Raphael

> If you reworded it "government must not pass regulations that drive up the
> cost of access to email" I could probably support that, but it would be

Richard, isn't that what you wanted all along?  I don't remember that
you ever said that you wanted the government to step in at this point.
You just worried that they'd step in badly.  When you talk about some
central control, you're talking about the long-term vision, aren't
you?  We have plenty of time to think about that, don't we?  If there is
central control, why should it be the US FCC?

> roughly equivalent to saying "government must not pass regulations." ALL

All the better, right?  For now, at least.


I once said:

> 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.

When I said this, I didn't think that anyone here would behave so
rudely that anyone else would want to expell him.  I was trying to
impart a sense of the responsibility of a live meeting to this meeting
-- to improve the emulation.  Live meetings can arrive at democratic
decisions.  Why not us?
Marilyn                               *
Marilyn Davis, Ph.D.-------------- * ---- eVote - online voting software
|                                 *       To participate in the beta
3790 El Camino Real, #147  *     *        write •••@••.•••
Palo Alto, CA 94306 USA     *   *
(415) 493-3631 ------------- * * -------- •••@••.••• -------


Sender: Elizabeth Schwartz <•••@••.•••>

This happens so often with non-profit groups: old-timers split into
factions, each accusing the other of using the group for their own
purposes, each insisting that they care more about the group... I've
seen it happen in coffeehouses and co-ops and political movements...

Guys: please take it outside. I don't want to read hundreds of lines
of who said what. If you can't keep it professional you ALL need a break.

Thanks, Betsy

PS equating subscribing to a list with having an opinion on an issue is not
well thought-out. Nobody has asked my opinion on anything, and in fact I'm
still not quite sure what this list is for. I just find some of the posts
interesting and toss most of the rest of them out unread.


Sender: "G.S. Aikens" <•••@••.•••>

The other day I suggested that the medium was not the best for reaching
consensus.  If one thinks of consensus as coming to agreement on an
action to be taken in the "real" world, I think this is true.

However, I also think that in creating threads of discourse we are
creating a concrete object in and of itself.  I think this concrete
object, or thread, does have something to do with consensus to the degree
that it clarifies the outlines of a topic that is the subject of
negotiation and debate.  In this way it is possible to create boundaries
for a discussion of an issue.  It is also possible to promote civility.

The recent submissions to this list contribute to my belief in this
medium as an awesome tool to clarify boundaries of discourse and
reinforce civil behavior.

Best to all,

Scott Aikens

Tel:    01223-571-170
E-Mail: •••@••.•••


Sender: Charles Bell <•••@••.•••>

I've been sitting here in my foxhole watching the salvos fly over my head
and (like many another in similar positions) wondering what the war is
really all about.

It reminds me of the Great Egg War in Lilliput.  Leaving to one side the
personality conflict between the respective rulers, co-leaders...the
question seems to be:  should any individual or faction draw up a position
paper on any issue and present it to the world as the `consensus' (please
note correct spelling) of this group of 500 distinguished Net-surfers?

I hope I am not hurting anyone's feelings if I suggest that the world
really doesn't care.  Our group is neither large enough, powerful enough
nor famous enough to carry any more weight than that of an equal number of
individuals randomly drawn from a set of telephone directories.  So it is
*not worth* anyone's expenditure of anger or anguish to debate the issue
of consensus.

As someone whose name was mentioned obiter dictu in the genesis of this
debate (and who does indeed agree with Richard's assessment of corporate
predation) -- I should like to offer a suggestion as to how to handle this
proposed statement to the outside world, and any such statements that may
be proposed in the future:

Let the drafter put the statement on the list and invite members to sign
their names or even (after the manner of the U.S. Supreme Court) to offer
*brief* concurring opinions.  After a given period, perhaps a week, let
the original drafter take all such signatures and concurrences, bundle
them together with a covering letter and release them to the world as
representing -- not the unanimous opinion of this list or of cpsr, but of
the undersigned group of thoughtful and experienced Internet users.

I believe that such papers will carry a useful payload to the target with
a greatly reduced risk of explosion on the launch pad.

Charles Bell


Sender: •••@••.••• (Chris Schaefer)
Subject: cr purpose.. for me!

In the interest of shedding a bit more light on "the" purpose of the list,
I figured I would pipe up with what -I- use it for.  Since this is probably
my first post, you can tell that it not a forum for debate for me.  The
fact is that the issues surrounding this list are not of the highest
priority in my life.  Nonetheless, I do think they are important.  So, why
do I lurk?  Basically because I think that debate is what keeps people
honest.  So, be looking in on a list which has a certain amount of healthy
debate, I figure that noone is bending the truth too much.  So essentially
it's a news source which I feel that I can trust to certain extent because
of the debate.

Now on to another topic.  I practice a decision making system within many
of the groups which I'm involved in which is called "consensus."  In order
for a decision to be made in that group there must be NO objections to the
proposal at hand.  I honestly don't think this is very practicle for a
diverse group of 500 people who can't even meet face to face.  However
there IS something which I feel can be useful.  At certain points in the
consensus meeting process the facilitator can state whatever she/he feels
is the "sense of the meeting."  This is NOT an attempt to give one unified
decision which the group has made, but rather an attempt to summarize ALL
of the various viewpoints that have been expressed. (and yes, these
summaries are open for "refinement" ) A slightly elaborated version might
even attempt to explain how and why these view points DO differ.  Instead
of the unified decision the "product" of the group is a deeper
understanding of the various aspects of an issue.

I note that Henry Huang's most recent post seems to be explaining a very
similar thing.

So that's the purpose of Cyber-rights, FOR ME, and a hoped for direction
which it might take.


Chris Schaefer                                   Email:  •••@••.•••

            Professional Bit Twiddler and student of reality.


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