Re: [DNS] List members

Re: [DNS] List members

From: Boz Cappie <B.Cappie§>
Date: Wed, 24 Jun 1998 22:55:07 +1000
At 18:02 24/06/98 +0930, Simon and Anthony, between them, wrote:
>Perhaps we could actually add a one or two liner to the auto-trailer from
>the mailing list software to that effect? e.g.:
>Messages in this list constitute a private discussion between list members,
>and any
>publication beyond this forum requires the explicit written assent of the
>content author.
>Would that nail it? 
>... Simon
>At 18:08 24/06/98 +1000, Antony wrote:
>>Michael (and all)
>>Could we have an addition to the "Rules" of this list which iterates what
>>George has suggested?
>>That is, this is a working forum and that anybody (especially journolists)
>>wishing to use the material published here outside of this forum must seek
>>the direct permission from all people involved in the thread.
>>I welcome journolists being on the list, but as George said, if anyone is
>>suspicious about comments made here being repeated elsewhere without
>>permission, then we could be stiffling some important discussions and

Well, hang on on a moment here people ...

Before I go on, I'll admit, yes, I am sort of biased - I was once a
columnist for Information Age, where I did a critiquing (read Stewart
Littlemore style) job on IT media. Nevertheless, I'll proceed ...

What you are discussing in this list constitutes the basis of public
policy. Anything that this mailing list comes up with could and may become
the basis upon which the ABA, ACA, DoCA, and other *official* parties (such
as this group), create policy (- and hey, we've already seen the outcome of
Mel. IT deciding to create policy as they go, haven't we?). 

Given that, surely that means that this list is AND should be open to
public scrutiny. And that means that journalists may, and SHOULD,
scrutinise it as part of their job (we all know who they probably are).
Because, essentially, anything that IS or MAY become public policy
(official or de facto), such as internet policy, should be under scrutiny
and open to criticism.

And, given the power of people and organisations involved in this list, we
can be sure that some of the stuff that gets discussed here WILL eventually
become policy. *AND*, even if it doesn't become government policy, the fact
is that whatever is decided as part of this so-called "open process"
(obviously for some, "sans journalists") will affect the public. And this
WILL affect the public, particularly when EVERYONE catches on to the
"commercial" possibilities of the internet and wants to be part of the
"decision" making process. 

Well, guess what ... I.T. plays an important part in our society,
politically, socially and economically, no matter how much we, as self
appointed techocrats, attempt to deny it. And, as such, it should be open
to scrutiny and criticism. To me, this includes discussions on policies and
structures concerning the local implementation and structure of the
internet. Including this discussion list. And, sometimes, we have to admit,
there may be problems with this discussion list and the implications of the
discussion. And, sometimes (just sometimes), it takes someone outside the
group, such as a journalist, to observe and critique that there may be
something problematic about the way a 'private' group of people discuss the
future of what is essentially a public resource.

So, I know that you'll say that journalists can use material discussed on
this list "with permission", but, hey, if all journalists had to get
permission to follow up leads, then we'd have a pretty sad and sorry
society, wouldn't we?. Can you imagine a journalist getting permissions
from the various parties on the "old" list to report on the circumstances
leading up to the creation of this list? (... and yet it may be in the
interest of some parties to let journalists know about this).

(As an aside, of particular note is the fact that we're discussing
so-called IT journalists, most of whom [with a couple of notable exceptions
- and they know who they are] merely rewrite press releases, and who don't
actually critique IT or it's implications as they should as journalists.)
Do we really want to create a greater problem for members of the list by
denying true 'public' dissemination of this stuff? Because, you know, it's
funny, but - journalists are more attracted to secrecy and closed worlds
than to open discussion. Worth thinking about.

Don't forget - this is a public discussion list, on potential public
policy, that's open to observation and comment by members of the public.
That's why I'm here, and why I've been here for quite a number of months.
If people on this list really have a major problem with the nature of
public scrutiny, and the fact that these discussions may be open to public
scrutiny, then perhaps you should set up your own *private* discussion
list, where no-one, but yourselves and exclusive invited parties, will have
the opportunity to discuss and comment on what could, and is likely to,
become public policy. See how the journalists like that.

Me - I live in what I hope is an open society and I prefer any discussion
list, to which I belong, concerning items that may affect the public to be
open to scrutiny. You see, underneath it all, a good journalist will only
quote something if it can be verified, and in context. And, you must admit,
this discussion list IS a public one. And if a journalist quotes YOU
incorrectly, then you have the normal course of law, vis a vis defamation
legislation, to ensure that a public correction and/or due compensation is

The final question is: This is public policy we're talking about - are we
so ashamed of what we say that we want it kept secret? 

Anything said in this message is considered public domain and may be quoted
in context, overriding any constricting messages which may be applied to
this discussion list. If unsure or uncertain about any of the content of
this message, please contact the author by e-mail directly.

-- reality is what you can get away with --

Boz Cappie
Institute for Interactive Multimedia
University of Technology, Sydney
PO Box 123, Broadway NSW 2007

All comments or views expressed in this e-mail 
are to be considered as personal and are not to 
be construed as representing those of the 
Institute for Interactive Multimedia, UTS 
or the University of Techology, Sydney.
Received on Wed Jun 24 1998 - 20:54:43 UTC

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