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COMMUNET Home

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COMMUNET  October 1996, Week 4

COMMUNET October 1996, Week 4

Subject:

Re: Community Net Stats

From:

"Ronald D. Doctor" <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 22 Oct 96 10:57:53 CDT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (73 lines)

On 21 Oct 1996, Steve Cisler wrote:

  What is the broad definition you use to include an org. in your
  directory?  If someone is providing community information, do you
  consider that a 'community network'?  In Canada the CAP program
  has pump primed many, many rural ISPs; some of these are community
  networks; others are just a web page residing somewhere else; others
  are a connection point.

Steve, the question is a good one; but I'm afraid my answer is a bit complex.
I have been compiling this Directory since 1992. In the beginning there were
so few systems that I just included all that I could find. In the past couple
of years, however, growth has been explosive and many different kinds of
systems have appeared. Consequently, we have become more selective over time.
Over the past six months we have been trying to define criteria for inclusion
(and exclusion). This is what we are currently using:

To be included in the Directory:

1. The CN should be people-oriented, rather than place-oriented, but it should
   be place-focused.

2. The CN should have some measure of interactivity, either direct (as in chat
   or time-synchronous systems) or indirect (as in discussion forums, or
   time-asynchronous systems).

3. Access to the CN should be widely available through some combination of
   dial-up via modem and public access terminals. That is, a system that has
   access through the Internet/Web without provision for a network of
   public access terminals would be excluded from the Directory. It is very
   difficult to identify which systems meet or do not meet this criterion. We
   have had to use considerable judgement in selecting appropriate systems.

4. The CN  should be organized from the bottom-up rather than from top-down.
   Thus, we have tried to exclude systems that are strictly Chamber of
   Commerce Web pages, Tourist Promotional sites, and Municipal Government
   sites that are strictly informational and not interactive. Lots of
   judgement is involved in this selection, and we know we have violated this
   criterion in a number of cases. Over time, we will clean up the database.

5. The CN should have diverse information offerings. However, we have included
   a number of systems that focus almost exclusively on K-12 education. We
   need to tighten up this criterion for future editions of the Directory.

We know we have not been entirely consistent in applying these criteria over
time. However, we attempt to improve consistency with each edition of the
Directory, and we are open to any and all suggestions for improving the
criteria.

In selecting systems, we have tried to be *inclusive*. We think it is
important for people involved in the CN movement to be able to see and contact
a wide range of community systems. However, there are some major classes of
systems that we have had to exclude. The City.Net and USA CityLink listings
include many systems that don't meet several of these criteria. They have been
excluded (except for an occasional system that has escaped our notice). On the
other hand, we have begun including the several CitySearch sites that are now
being developed.

This is very much a work in progress. I would like to hear from others on the
list regarding criteria and specific systems that should be included or
excluded from the Directory.

Re the Canadian CAP systems, I've been trying since the Taos Conference to
contact Mike Gillespie to get such a list (Mike, are you reading this?). If
you (or anyone else) has such a list, I would appreciate it if you would
 send it to me (preferably via e-mail).

I hope this satisfactorily answers your questions and stimulates some
discussion on the list.

Ron Doctor, Associate Professor
[log in to unmask]

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