Ming the Mechanic:
NCN Rules

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 NCN Rules2002-05-09 17:23
28 comments
by Flemming Funch

Below is my draft for a set of rules of the NCN member area. There have been a number of discussions in the last few months where people have expressed that it wasn't clear what the rules were here. So, I'm trying to remedy that.




Respect others

That means, deal with others in a respectful manner, and show respect for their right to have different views than yours. You don't have to agree with anybody here and you don't have to like them, but if you are communicating with them, or talking about them, it is not acceptable to do so in an attacking or ridiculing manner.

Don't attack other people's character or motives

It is very fundamental here that we're all allowed to have our own, possibly different, views. So, even if you think that somebody else is wrong, or their views are outlandish, or they're saying things that are incorrect, or even if they appear to be attacking you - none of that gives you any right to attack or ridicule their character or their motives. By all means, talk about the subject at hand. But, please, no ad hominem remarks. No flaming. Talk about the issues, not about the other people, unless you have something constructive to say.

Don't kill the diversity

More than just that it is ok to have a differing view, it is essential that a diversity of different views and different approaches is maintained. Again, you don't have to agree and you don't have to like the way somebody else does it. But don't try to wipe out the diversity and make everybody think the same way. Not that you're likely to succeed, but please don't waste your effort here in trying to make NCN into a homogenous group where everybody believes the same things and uses the same words. In nature, diversity is not a problem to be fixed, it is a strength that makes evolution possible.

Take your own initiative

Nobody's going to hand you your instructions for what you're supposed to do here. There's no one official program that you need to line up behind. The point is what YOU do. If you think something needs to happen - go make it happen. Either launch an initiative in that direction, or join others who're working on the same thing. NCN is a blank canvas unless you paint on it.

Cause no harm

The purpose of NCN is to network people of good will who are trying to make the world work better for all of us. There might be differing views of what is constructive and what are the best things to do. However, under no circumstances cause or intend harm towards others.

Don't monopolize the facilities

NCN is for all of us here. For all sorts of people of good will, working on things they consider constructive. Don't try to make it anything less than that by trying to commandeer all of the facilities of NCN in the service of any one project or issue. That everybody's not working on the same thing or not promoting the same cause is not a failure, it is by design. So don't try to create monopolies here. Don't waste our shared resources.

Do whatever you want

Aside from the previously mentioned limitations, you can basically do whatever you want. You don't have to wait for anybody's permission before you start a new group or new activity. There are plenty of places where you can announce a new project and work on it with other people who are interested. So, don't wait for public support or the go-ahead of any authority. You can create your own workgroup on any subject you choose and set it up according to any rules that you feel are appropriate.

Don't be boring

Oh, don't worry, just be yourself. But if you try to start something, and nobody joins, or if you write something, and nobody gives you any feedback - then there's not particularly anybody you can blame. Other people might be busy with their own things. Doesn't mean they don't like you or that what you have to say is worthless. Don't count on that everybody will join up with just anything you propose. Gathering support requires patience, and it requires that you inspire other people to participate, and it requires that somebody agrees that your project is worthwhile. If you don't get the responses you want, you either need to reevaluate your objectives, or you need to do it all yourself, or you need to communicate better.

Volunteering

NCN is primarily about what you do, and what others do, individually and in teams, organizations or networks of various kinds. But if you're specifically inspired to be part of the maintenance of the NCN website itself, that's quite possible and welcome, particularly if you might have some technical skills in that arena. The webmaster is usually happy to have somebody share in the responsibilities. If what you want is to have a say in how thing are supposed do be done, expect that to evolve from your demonstrated competence in the area.

Organizing, Decision Making

If you feel that something is missing in the NCN environment, such as for example, an approach to conflict resolution, or better instructions for new members, or a birthday committee or something, you're welcome to work on it. Be aware first of all that there is no hierarchical control structure here. There's somebody who maintains and develops the website, but as far as the activities of members go, there's not particularly any boss you can appeal to. It is more like a self-organizing anarchy. So, if you want a certain type of activity to be going on, the best approach would be set up a space for it yourself, and to act as an evangelist for it, and to make it happen. If you come up with something that works, and that others find useful, it is quite likely that they will adopt it, and it might become the standard facility for that purpose. Just be aware in advance that there is no way for you to be elected to be in charge of all NCN members. Nobody is. By demonstrating your competence in a certain area you might become the de-facto leader of that particular area. But that's an entirely different thing. The people who water the flowers will naturally become recognized as those who take care of the flowers. There are no power games available.

A Network is not a Team

If you feel that you somehow must make NCN as a whole do something or the other, you've probably misunderstood what this whole thing is. NCN is a network. A network consists of multiple nodes that freely link up with each other as they find appropriate. It is not a hierarchy where somebody is in charge of the whole thing. You as an individual can be a node in the network. Your existing organization can be a node in the network. You might form a team that can be a node in the network. Within a certain team or project or organization you need to work out your own approach to how you get things done. Most likely you need some clear aims, and you need to be discerning about who you invite into it, and there probably needs to be one or more leaders who carry the project through, and it probably takes a lot of hard work. Please form some strong teams and get some work done. But NCN as a whole is not a team or even an organization. It doesn't have one agenda or one leader. That is not some kind of mistake that you need to correct. Lead your own team. NCN will hopefully become something more than its parts. Hopefully a bigger synergy will emerge from the inter-connectivity of many effective teams.

Don't wait

There's nothing to wait for. NCN might have a life of its own and things might collectively evolve. But don't hang around waiting for some mysterious force to give you your instructions or the permission to do what you want to do. Don't hang around here waiting for something to happen and then decide you've wasted your time. The point of NCN is that you go do what you're inspired to do, and here is a space where you can share that with others, and you can connect up with other people doing useful thing. If you're waiting for NCN as a whole to do something or the other, then you're indeed wasting your time. Take action. Find others to play with. Have fun.


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28 comments

9 May 2002 @ 22:44 by shawa : OK...
Where do I sign up? (Grin). That´s what I like about NCN! As for me, you´ve summed it up, Ming! --,--´--@ Now, if we just could add some of Mark´s perspective, the thing about service and joy... I would be in extasy... :-)  


10 May 2002 @ 00:38 by jazzolog : Grassroots
You are signed up, kiddo. Shakti's point is well-taken though...and I'm sure you'd agree that we can add the thing about service and joy. As I understand the setup here and the discussions of the last months, NCN is to be a flexible and evolving entity. What has been asked is where do we go and how do we do it? The answer has been Start right there and do it yourself and do it now. So let's get ecstatic and add Service and Joy!

Here's the thing: previously the rules above were guidelines. Maybe you're restating them, Ming, to make them clear again. Or maybe you now intend enforcement. Rules need enforcement. What will the engine of that be? Will petition of grievance be made in the open?

Let's iron out the wrinkles---if it can be allowed there are wrinkles. When Moses brought down the Commandments, I'm not sure there was a question period. My part in the discussions leading up to this always has been that an NCN constitutional convention workgroup ought to be ongoing, thereby allowing grassroots organization.
Mark told me it already exists (NCN Site Development) and sent me an invitation. I hesitated because I wasn't sure who was in it (sometimes a problem in joining the Groups) but finally enlisted for a preview. (Incidentally, this is the only WorkGroup I have joined here, except DivinePowers on the first day I came in, where I discovered someone was a member, who I knew would misinterpret my presence and ultimately complain about it on her NewsLog, which she did in a comment on May 8th.) I did not see there was much in the way of organizational conversation going on, and, as Ming knows because of the personal considerations mentioned parenthetically, I left the Group immediately to not disturb its workings.
Forgive the digression, but I am lacking a forum somewhat to address the very concerns that possibly started this whole thing...sort of The Boston Tea Party at NCN. :-) Anyway, what we have here, from grassroots or on high, is a working rulebook that perhaps we can influence in some way. Maybe we can ask members of Site Development to discuss our concerns. If that's a good idea, can we know who those members are? And may we also discover the means of enforcing these rules? Or are they still only guidelines really?
~~~~~~~~~~~
Note: On 10 May 2002 @ 10:49 the comment referred to was deleted as a "complimentary (sic) gesture." After disarmament, what?

 



10 May 2002 @ 02:32 by mmmark : Good To See This Ming
You have covered most of the bases. If you want to maintain the position that NCN community will not have capability to act as a whole, then I think we miss a powerful synergy potential to affect the future as a unit. Perhaps you will think differently about this in the future, but I will repsect your initial premise for non-regulation.

I would suggest that these guidlines be separated into 2 categories in this order, probably to be read before one signs up for a membership - maybe even clicking an "I Agree To Participate With The Spirit Of These Terms" button:

1] NCN Site Objectives
2] Membership Guidelines

I'm not sure I understand what Jazz wrote about wrinkles - if these are the regs - then the offender can easily be referred to them by anyone - therefore how can there be any dispute. We can never regulate flawless behavior and we would never had invented laws if people never abused one another in the first place. Seems like we will get the respect we deserve in our performance here.

I do think you might want to add some description, or make it clearer about members affecting evolution of the site. I don't see the tools that I would need to run a work group, so what would I do, other than ask you to make them? That's just one example of things that people might be concerned about. At the same time something like a suggestion box, with a description of how it works might fill that need.

In general I think this is well written. Are you willing to have help editing these to be a bit more fluid and precise?  



10 May 2002 @ 03:48 by ming : Regulation
I agree with Jazz that if there are rules there needs to be some way of enforcing them. OK, we could say that they're just guidelines, but I think there will have to be some consequences for violating some of them, or they're not worth much. That might be as simple as being booted out if one consistently and flagrantly violates the rules about being nice. That's pretty much the only meaningful threat here. But, unfortunately, it usually isn't straightforward. There is no problem if it is just some trouble-making kid who joins and who right away vandalizes a few chat rooms, and I kick him out. But the complicated situation is when it is much more entangled, and it is with people who have been members for a while, and built up a net of friends here, and a couple of them get into some fight and call each other names. And there are then very differing opinions of who started and who's most at fault, and very differing ideas about what to do about it. And pretty much whatever one decides about it, there will be some people who find that it is unfair. In those situations I certainly wouldn't mind having some little committee who's job it was to come up with a judgement on whether somebody was violating the rules sufficiently to be booted out or not.  


10 May 2002 @ 04:14 by ming : Workgroups
As to where to work on rules like this... Well, I'm open to suggestions for additions and adjustments, but I'm also trying to keep it simple and avoid getting sidetracked with frustrating discussions. So I'd rather not make a group for the purpose of defining rules. The Site Development group hasn't really acted much like that, but has just been discussion of various suggestions about the site.

As to workgroups in general, Mark, the point is that one just makes it. It isn't something I have to make. That's in part what I tried to make clear in those rules there. Anybody can make a workgroup in the groups page. The point is just that there isn't any instant blessing that goes along with that. The group would have to sort of prove itself first, if it aspires to have some say over something in NCN. E.g. somebody might decide to make a workgroup that will define some membership criteria for NCN. And if they come up with something that most people seem to be happy with and that works, great, it would be adopted. If they don't, then it won't.  



10 May 2002 @ 10:48 by mmmark : Mising My Point
The cyberspace interface and tools of the workgroups does not meet my requirements. I cannot program a single workgroup's code, so I am reliant on you to assist make the tools. I could learn to do so, but it is over my head now and I do not understand how to use what is there already. There are also features I would rather not have - like hats. My question is - what does one do about this type of problem? As you know I already made a post to talk about what technology would support a cocreative process in the workgroup environment.  


10 May 2002 @ 11:56 by vaxen : service and joy....
hallmarks of the eternal slave. and i ca'nt see anything in the 'rules' that is new at all? as for richard? it would be nice if YOU would let whatever obsession you have with [SRR] DROP! Christ! Wherever I go it's this stupid thing that you should have resolved yourself so long ago! Now you are a 'sort of admin' in some capacity? well, woopdie do...who cares? Does that mean you are going to harp on and on and on till the poor soul gets down on her pathetic knees and begs you to come back or some such sick thing? Take your commandments and your rules and your administrative meanderings, comes from your being a 'teacher' I'm sure, and shove them old boy! Not everyone agrees with you, your Christianity your endless harping about rules!!! etc., etc., rules are for slaves not freemen! More and more, as I see the way you work, Richard, I think to myself...did'nt I leave these people so long ago in Vietnam? I thought so...but you keep popping up here and there. I made a sacred oath and promise to myself so long ago that I would 'Never fight for you again!' And I wont!!!  


10 May 2002 @ 13:29 by jazzolog : Charming
My comment is reproduced below in Mr. Vaxen's now-calm persona'd response. I'll delete here to save precious cyberspace.  


10 May 2002 @ 16:05 by scottj : Applying sactions
A couple of ideas as to how to apply sanctions in a positive way:

- there should always be a ladder to climb down. Something the *offender* can do to redeam the situation. In this way the *offender* effectively choses their own fate.

- each situation is unique and the response to it needs to be unique. There can be rules but these should only act as guidlines when it comes to responses.  



10 May 2002 @ 16:36 by ming : Customizing Environments
Hey, are these guys testing my rules?... Anyway, to answer Mark. I hear you. Yes, ideally you should be able to do whatever you want in a workgroup. But right now you're limited by the software, which only gives you certain options. I'd love for a bunch of programmers to be inspired to make lots of modules and options that could be available in a workgroup, but that hasn't happened. You do have quite some range of choices now, though, which you probably don't know about, Mark, since I don't think you're been the administrator of a workgroup. You can use any of the available modules or not, as you choose. So, you can leave the six-hat meeting room thing off if you don't like it. You can also rename the different sections to anything you want. And you control the text and/or html on the starting page, so nothing particularly stops you from including a little voting application or something else that you might find missing.  


10 May 2002 @ 21:19 by mmmark : Test Group
I went to the test workgroup to see what the features are, and they seem the same, but nowhere did I ever see a description of the custom possibilities of running a group like you just gave. Why not save yourself more effort and post these informational type things adjacent to where they are first introduced, then idiots, or blind people like me won't ask stupid questions.

These guy is testing the rules right off the bat, he seemed to enjoy testing me personally too!  



10 May 2002 @ 21:53 by b : bee says - vision
I too like the NCN rules. Spirited communication is a joy on this site. Well excercised minds, expanding intellect, expanding conciousness in mutifaceted communication cocreate the evolution of a network of humans dedicated to new civilization. In coming here and participating we are dedicated to change. To be better, for the greatest good for the greatest number of people is civilizations challange.  


10 May 2002 @ 23:37 by ming : Group features
Mark, the features are there for the administrator. Which you would automatically be if you created the group. If you will go and join the test group, I can make you an administrator for the test group, so you can check it out there, if you want.  


11 May 2002 @ 09:26 by vaxen : Glad
for you, jazzolog, that:

jazzolog:
It's actually a relief to see Mr. Vaxen come out from behind a hidden profile to reveal his true strength of character, here and at a couple other Logs this afternoon.

vaxen:
My profile is hidden, and will remain so, until the day dawns that I wo'nt have to be concerned about 'attacks' from within. I am a strong yet resilient person as well. But I sense a hidden slur in your wording.

jazzolog:
Over the last few weeks I've marveled at the brilliance of his sniper attacks in the Logs, and as he has joined and quit any number of WorkGroups.

vaxen:
I've not viewed anything that I said, in the logs or elsewhere, as 'sniper attacks.' This was not my intent at all. As for the 'WorkGroups,' and my participation in them or non participation in them, the allusion you are making is your problem not mine. The 'WorkGroups' are another 'newer' addition to NCN, and when I had the time I tested them out for myself. That is our right. If we find something that works, fine, but I do'nt think that we are 'bonded' from the get go after a few days. I am still in one workgroup but that one is'nt active and I may quit it as well. So? This place is rather a 'testing ground' is'nt it Ming?

jazzolog:
Nothing seems good enough for this free-man, nor does anything merit the application of what he assures us are considerable skills and powers of analysis.

vaxen:
Again 'character slurs' which need not be intimated at nor hinted at richard. And I never once assured you of anything other than that I felt concern for you and how you perceived yourself to be treated by one of the other members.
I tried to encourage you and let you know that you had my support. For, at that time, I rather enjoyed your writing style and looked forward to getting to know you better.

jazzolog:
On the 3 occasions I have been involved in emailing with him---usually to find out if there was something wrong about me or about him that could be remedied---he has replied that everything was fine and assured me of his admiration and continuing desire to be in relationship.

vaxen:
Of what possible relevance is this jazzolog? I still feel the same, though somewhat daunted, and would rather see the 'real' essence of you come out for 'inspection' rather than see the 'reactor' go on a binge of looped malfeisance.

jazzolog:
I suppose as long as Mr. Vaxen doesn't climb to the top of a virtual tower and just start shooting, I can continue sympathetic support. Out in the public square, every village seems to have at least one of these guys.

vaxen:
Do'nt worry, jazzolog, that wo'nt happen. I only 'hack' my own box and consider 'cyber-war' an 'infantile' approach, as it stands now, to 'political detante.'
And I really rather doubt that 'any village square' has anyone even close to 'me.' So, exactly, what are you referring to in such a dilatorious manner? As a rule I do not hang out in 'village squares.' So the allusion is at once desultory as well as illusive. Do enlighten me, pray tell, dear jazzolog! ;)

vaxen:
Nice rules ming. And I am not 'consciously' setting out to 'challenge' them in the least. Every 'Corporation' must have its' 'bylaws.' Nothing wrong with that. Most of the Corporations I've built, and or worked with, have taken years to get here. One of my 'Associations' just went 'Platinum' this week. It took many, many, years to get there...and once 'there' one realises that the process is endless! Mark, no insult was meant to you in what you also obviously took as an attack. At least you've no 'profile' to dress me with that I would undoubtedly shatter inevitably. I think you are all valuable but must reserve the right unto myself to be myself. I try to be honest in my discourses and I'll try harder. So, gentlemen, have a good day...---VAX  



11 May 2002 @ 15:27 by ming : Testing
Oh, I didn't actually think you set out to challenge my rules. Anyway, I must admit, my preference is for people being honest over being polite but mean. In a certain system of thought I used to study, what was considered the most insidious mode of communication is what is called "covert hostility". "Passive Aggressive" is a similar way of saying it. Or, yes, a hidden slur. It is when you pretend to be very civil and polite, but you are really trying to put somebody down. And it is kind of hard to defend oneself against, or to point out to people, because many people don't notice it and will just think that the person indeed was just being civil and polite. So, in the exchange above, Vaxen was venting some anger, and there was no particular doubt about that. And Jazz answered in a more snide way. Even though the words said that he was applauding "Mr.Vaxen" for his strength of character, the hidden subtext is obviously more along the lines of "Hahah, you cracked! Now everybody can see what a crazy SOB you are, while I'm maintaining my cool". And, well, I suppose Jazz comes from a tradition (academics) where that's the only acceptable and available way of doing it, where nobody ever yells at each other, but you fight with clever put-downs instead.  


11 May 2002 @ 16:47 by jazzolog : Testing Results
As long as we're sharing our preferences in human beings, I really appreciate a guy who's direct and honest too. I like a fella who says, "Look boys, I don't give a crap whether you newsloggers get anything figured out or not. You can tear each other to pieces for all I care. In fact I rather enjoy the show...now and then. Outside of the technical realities, I don't care how this site is organized or whether it is at all---except for one thing. People, I'm a businessman. I'm not a philanthropist who got rich in the insurance business and now wants to share his good fortune with the whole world. I'm a guy with an idea and an investment---and the investment is this site. My venture capital is based on a solid eventuality: someday somebody is going to come through that network door with a money-making scheme and he's going to need a systems man---and that'll be me. It'll be a clean, green business, and we'll make millions. When that happens I'm gonna kiss this candy store good-bye, and most of you with it. Get used to it. That's the bottom line. Amuse yourselves while it's here, but if you're looking for some pie in the sky from me, you got the wrong guy."

By the way, if anybody happens to get overtly hostile over this comment, you may as well not bother. I'll just come back in a couple days and delete it. It will never have happened.  



12 May 2002 @ 01:10 by ming : Cryptic sub-texts
Hmm, wow, so then you shift over into being twice as indirect in your insult, and you point it over towards me. Leaving it cryptic enough so that you easily can deny it later on. If I give it a try at interpreting: You took what I wrote above as a personal insult against you, and now you will return the favor with some interest. You accuse me of being a phoney who doesn't say what I really mean. And you imply that what I really mean is that I don't give a damn about any of you folks, but I'm just using you as some kind of get-rich vehicle, and I'll knock you all off the moment the right money making opportunity comes along.... Yeah, that's indeed quite an insult. It has now been received. It is also so off the wall that I won't bother defending myself against it. And, well, the fact that you feel you need to deliver it, and that you seem to believe something along those lines, probably is saying more about where you're at than where I'm at. And I find where you're at somewhat sad and disappointing.  


12 May 2002 @ 02:48 by jazzolog : Nothing Cryptic About It
There's nothing mysterious or enigmatic about my comment. Truly it does come from the crypt of my hopes and quite reasonable expectations about this site and its webmaster. There is nothing wrong with seeking contacts at a network of entrepreneurs. That must be what the thousands of members are doing or hoping to do. (Their Work certainly isn't evident in helping out in these public areas of NCN.) What I charge as dishonest is the posting of an entry about Rules, with no engine of enforcement attached---and only another vague promise to "think it through."

And further dishonesty by then posting a comment, called "Testing," on that very entry, that supposes what kind of tradition of "hidden subtexts" I come from ("academic"), where people are "snide" and possibly incapable of direct honesty. You tell me, Emperor Ming, how that comment Respects others, how it Doesn't attack my character and motives, how it Doesn't kill the diversity (let's say of my family tradition vs. yours), how it Causes no harm. Perhaps what we are testing is how testy you really are.  



12 May 2002 @ 07:23 by ergodicity : Oh bother
Two highly sentient beings challenging each others motives. Fact is, Ming, when you come right down to it, NCN is yours. No matter the specious claim to a managed anarchy, this place is quit dependent on you. From what I have learned, we are fortunate to have such a benevolent dictator. In the long run, NCN survives under the danger that some accident will cause you to lose that benevolence. NCN is not the end-all. AND jazzalog, good to put the danger out there, it exists. BUT then, I don't think any amount of patching things up or changing little software features on NCN will remedy the problem. Yes, it is alarming that this danger exists but until we have a working society, it will be there no matter what pseudo organization fancies your participation. Ming has done a good job of making a space where we can hash this stuff out. May our luck hold out long enough to get us into the next quantum state of civilization where, maybe, the "rules" don't even allow space for alienating ourselves from each other, especially two great thinkers such as yourselves.  


12 May 2002 @ 09:36 by scottj : Richard, by the nature of
the technical things, Chip (ergodicity) is right, Ming is the Lord and Master of NCN in the sense that he has the residual power to newk the place, and you, and me, any time he wants. But a salient point is that he hasn't newked you for what you said about him further up this page, if he had been that person / charicature you paint you can bet your life he would have done.

I will admit to being suspicious to the point of paranoia on occasions regarding the motives of people in power and to having been initially suspicious of Ming's agenda here but I will say that from that, survival-tactic-in-a-ripoff-world starting point I haven't seen anything in Ming's responses to situations to confirm those suspicions. I certainly would not go as far as to say I agree with everything Ming; does, is doing, says etc. but that is true of everyone else myself included.

What is worth considering here is that the problems associated with getting NCN to work are not solved in an instant, this is new territory, there is no map and I agree with Chip that we are damned lucky to have this opportunity and Ming (bungling oaf that he is :-))) to keep it going.

I think believe you should cut Ming some slack, Richard I really do.  



12 May 2002 @ 10:42 by jazzolog : OK Buddy
[link]  


12 May 2002 @ 10:58 by jazzolog : When It's Only Technological
Consider this, from today's NY Times~~~

The New York Times on the Web
May 12, 2002

Global Village Idiocy
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

JAKARTA, Indonesia — During a dinner with Indonesian journalists in Jakarta, I was taken aback when Dini Djalal, a reporter for The Far Eastern Economic Review, suddenly launched into a blistering criticism of the Fox News Channel and Bill O'Reilly. "They say [on Fox], `We report, you decide,' but it's biased — they decide before us," she said. "They say there is no spin, but I get dizzy looking at it. I also get upset when they invite on Muslims and just insult them."

Why didn't she just not watch Fox when she came to America, I wondered? No, no, no, explained Ms. Djalal: The Fox Channel is now part of her Jakarta cable package. The conservative Bill O'Reilly is in her face every night.

On my way to Jakarta I stopped in Dubai, where I watched the Arab News Network at 2 a.m. ANN broadcasts from Europe, outside the control of any Arab government, but is seen all over the Middle East. It was running what I'd call the "greatest hits" from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: nonstop film of Israelis hitting, beating, dragging, clubbing and shooting Palestinians. I would like to say the footage was out of context, but there was no context. There were no words. It was just pictures and martial music designed to inflame passions.

An Indonesian working for the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, who had just visited the Islamic fundamentalist stronghold of Jogjakarta, told me this story: "For the first time I saw signs on the streets there saying things like, `The only solution to the Arab-Israel conflict is jihad — if you are true Muslim, register yourself to be a volunteer.' I heard people saying, `We have to do something, otherwise the Christians or Jewish will kill us.' When we talked to people to find out where [they got these ideas], they said from the Internet. They took for granted that anything they learned from the Internet is true. They believed in a Jewish conspiracy and that 4,000 Jews were warned not to come to work at the World Trade Center [on Sept. 11]. It was on the Internet."

What's frightening him, he added, is that there is an insidious digital divide in Jogjakarta: "Internet users are only 5 percent of the population — but these 5 percent spread rumors to everyone else. They say, `He got it from the Internet.' They think it's the Bible."

If there's one thing I learned from this trip to Israel, Jordan, Dubai and Indonesia, it's this: thanks to the Internet and satellite TV, the world is being wired together technologically, but not socially, politically or culturally. We are now seeing and hearing one another faster and better, but with no corresponding improvement in our ability to learn from, or understand, one another. So integration, at this stage, is producing more anger than anything else. As the writer George Packer recently noted in The Times Magazine, "In some ways, global satellite TV and Internet access have actually made the world a less understanding, less tolerant place."

At its best, the Internet can educate more people faster than any media tool we've ever had. At its worst, it can make people dumber faster than any media tool we've ever had. The lie that 4,000 Jews were warned not to go into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 was spread entirely over the Internet and is now thoroughly believed in the Muslim world. Because the Internet has an aura of "technology" surrounding it, the uneducated believe information from it even more. They don't realize that the Internet, at its ugliest, is just an open sewer: an electronic conduit for untreated, unfiltered information.

Worse, just when you might have thought you were all alone with your extreme views, the Internet puts you together with a community of people from around the world who hate all the things and people you do. And you can scrap the BBC and just get your news from those Web sites that reinforce your own stereotypes.

A couple of years ago, two Filipino college graduates spread the "I Love You" virus over the Internet, causing billion of dollars in damage to computers and software. But at least that virus was curable with the right software. There is another virus going around today, though, that's much more serious. I call it the "I Hate You" virus. It's spread on the Internet and by satellite TV. It infects people's minds with the most vile ideas, and it can't be combated by just downloading a software program. It can be reversed only with education, exchanges, diplomacy and human interaction — stuff you have to upload the old-fashioned way, one on one. Let's hope it's not too late.

Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company

This is why it is courageous to have the debate we are having, about representative decision-making and implementation of ethics at even one site on the Internet.  



12 May 2002 @ 15:19 by vaxen : audacity...
and you have the audacity, richard, to say, in another log, that deletions can be necessary in order to save money? that 'cyber-space' is costly? is there no end to your hypocrisy and being 'overly sensitive,' however covertly, that 'be' insisted upon? 'i can assure you that ming is no such 'entrepreneur' and that his comments come from heart. that he is every bit, if not more, as sensitive as you are, and that no mal-intent' was intended. also that he does not see himself as any kind of 'benevolent dictator' at all! this place has evolved outside the dictates of it's creator. ncn is no one persons lovechild...i can assure you of that. your pension for misinterpretation is evident to all but then we all share in that being denizens of the web which is relatively new territory, communications wise, for all who use it or who are swept up into its' matrix. hope you'll re-examine your conclusions and address the issues, you feel, in your own log. btw have you invested cold cash in ncn? it has come to my attention that ming foots the bill all by himself and that bill is quite hefty. $1800.00 a month. i think it is only fair to ask; 'What is ming getting out of all this?' what do you think? btw i did meet ming face to face, on several occasions, and found him to be quite a humble and remarkable person. damned if he does and damned if he does'nt, eh?  


12 May 2002 @ 17:15 by jazzolog : Money
If Ming can show me that he is a rational manager, and prove a profit, I have a thousand dollars a month I shall be happy to invest.  


14 May 2002 @ 14:13 by jazzolog : Mssrs. Vaxen And Ming
My wife has been a member of NCN now for 5 days. She came in especially to answer any questions by [SRR] and her supporters. [S] had published assumptions about Dana in her Log, what my wife knew of my activities and when she knew them. Significantly [SRR] has not been around during this interval. Others have been very gracious in welcoming Dana to membership.  


14 May 2002 @ 15:58 by ming : Jazzolog
Vaxen has cancelled his NCN account and is no longer here. What are you saying here? I don't quite get it. You were in the middle of painting a picture of me as a heartless money-motivated power monger of some kind. I don't quite get how this fits in. Is it an accusation, a complaint, or a request for assistance?  


14 May 2002 @ 16:17 by jazzolog : Alas, Vaxen
Sorry to hear that. It was more directed to him, who had spoken stoutly of the lady always---nearly always. But at any rate the comment pertains to the "rules" certainly, and ongoing thoughts about what to do with them.  


14 May 2002 @ 22:05 by bushman : Hmmm
How does a gardener explane something as simple as this, those rules ming wrote up are not so much rules but rules of thought, jazz, there are people who accualy want thought police, god forbid that ever happens. Further more, I follow the vission those are my rules, NCN was created based on the visson as far as I know. The vission is the only reason I'm here, I strive to be the vission, none of the other worldly things we do in here maters to me unless it has the power to manifest the vission. We are in that place, in space and time, where light and dark, become one.  


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2002-12-18 18:16: Comments



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