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-- [ From: William P. (Bill) Russell * EMC.Ver #2.3 ] --
 
 
Paul+Penny Cass   ask:
 
> How are other community networks holding local discussions?
 
This discussion we are having here is a discussion that is local to the virtual
community to which we belong: the community of community network builders.
 
>Our tools consist
> of the Internet freebies -- we have nn(trn,rn,tin), pine(elm,mail), gopher,
> lynx, pico, irc, talk(ntalk,ytalk), PPP accounts.  We have full internet
> access.
 
Or to be more accurate: you have a full suite of Internet servers.  Your users
have a more or less full access to the Internet depending on the capability of
their equipment and adequacy of their communications link.
 
 > What we don't have is a good online community discussion area.  We have one
> newsgroup that was supposed to announce system subjects, which the people
took
> over for a soap box.  We have several other local groups, but they are all
> scattered in the 6,000 global newsgroups.  Even pulling local groups into a
> separate menu item doesn't seem the answer when the newsgroup names are so
> esoteric.
>
> What tools do others use for community discussion -- we'd like to see local
> discussions of:  parenting, health, women's issues, politics, etc. Somehow
the
> discussion tool just doesn't seem set up to encourage these important
> conversations.
 
I believe that Majordomo is the de facto standard for discussion lists from
UNIX based Internet servers.  It's capabilities are not too  different from the
listserv program that serves this list.  These local discussions could remain
more focused if they were moderated, but a responsible human must be the
moderator and that takes what is more precious than gold - * * T I M E ! * *
There will also be complaints about censorship, but they must be answered by
establishing other discussion lists for which the "censored" material is
germane.  For example, if a discussion list set up to discuss ways to more
adequately explain a woman's right to choose is bombarded by anti-abortion
rhetoric, then it is incumbent on the management to establish a list to discuss
ways to more adequately explain the baby's right to life.  It is not up to the
management to decide which conversation is the "right" one, just to keep the
two discussions straight and on the subject.
 
 
Bill Russell
The future Bandon Community Network