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When the Freenet phenomena hit the US, I was attracted to that stucture.
A city graphic (or village or hub) with graphics to get to commons,
courthouse, library, rec hall, etc.  And I anticipated working with 
peopel who would design an electronic shadow, if you will, to the physical
reality of our city.  Not more than 6 months after we began, the web
took over and community nets became synonymous with websites.  Putting
up a web took the place of growing a freenet or electronic city. 
I think this happened because the freenet software became too expensive
to use and the organization became rigidified.  Now what is happening
is every group and organization is putting up their web.  They don't need
to communicate or coordiante or share or cooperate with any other 
group or association.  Thus, the fragmented physical network remains
fragmented and competitive and redundant electronically as well.

	The Atlantic Monthly (8/96) carries an interesting feature
article "Welcome to the Next Church," (Charles Trueheart,37-58) which
suggests that americans are turning to large churches that offer not
only spiritual guidance but a place to belong -- a place that was left
vacant when neighborhoods, work, and other communities lost their 
potency.  Maybe community networks are doomed to become gated
communities -- those who can afford it get PPP and those that can't
get BBS -- but like talks to like, white to white, black to black,
republicans to republicans.  Any other way is too revolutionary.

	(Terry, hope this is not too long a post!)
HMK ([log in to unmask])