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RE: The State of the Framers List

It looks like I have been subscribed but I am not sure to which.
old_framers (proud to be one) or framers.  Let me know so I can set up a
shortcut.  Otherwise, I will subscribe to the right one just let me know.

Next question, what is going on with the conference?  I was planning to
attend (not for Brad's sake but for my own).  I am really looking forward to
meeting people that I have e-mailed for years and the lectures.

We are also having a booth (Revision Master)

I also plan to remain on the other list as I help a lot of newbies and feel
they deserve our help.

So I guess I am part of the revolt but can't break away completely.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Louis E. Evart [mailto:lou@softline.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, September 30, 1998 10:33 PM
> To: Jeremy H. Griffith
> Cc: old_framers@omsys.com; framers@omsys.com
> Subject: Re: The State of the Framers List
> Jeremy:
> I endorse your action and recommend you take the following
> addtional steps:
>  o  Write a script to spin the Framers Archive and automatically
>     subscribe anyone who has posted to Brad's list.  Although Brad's
>     archive is broken I know there are two or three others at other
>     locations.
>  o  After subscribing everyone, make this message the initial post
>     that they receive from the new list.  I know some people will be
>     upset at the automatic subscription, but it will be very important
>     to build momentum for the new list rapidly.  It may even provoke
>     an early surrender by Brad.
>  o  Watch out on the amount of work you are undertaking.  We run a list
>     for our cash paying customers and it takes a lot more than $180 to
>     support it.  All that is required is a small change by one of the
>     major EMail tool vendors and it can trigger hundreds of hours of
>     system support time to straighten out the mess.  I am sympathetic
>     with Brad's problems in the regard.
> Regarding the Web Site, I would recommend that you give serious
> consideration to installing a Domino server.  The server is Lotus Notes
> based and comes with tons of templates for doing stuff like FAQs and
> article posting and linking.  Comes with a great search engine.  Allows
> posting and downloading of attachments to Web content.  Accepts and
> produces RTF in addtion to HTML.
> Small business prices are really cheap.  If you are interested our firm
> would probably donate the software.  It has worked well for us.
> Thanks
> Lou
> On Thu, 1 Oct 1998, Jeremy H. Griffith wrote:
> >
> > This has been a difficult post for me to write.  Please bear
> > with me for a while...
> >
> > Most of you have known me as a dedicated member of the Framers
> > list for many, many years, about 10 years IIRC, starting when
> > it was on uunet.  Some of you are people with whom I've had
> > lengthy off-list correspondence; some of you are Omni mif2rtf
> > customers; and some of you are known to me only by your many
> > helpful posts to Framers in the past.  What unites us all,
> > though, is our concern for the health and well-being of the
> > Framers community as a whole.
> >
> > This is a special community to me.  We help each other, freely
> > sharing our time and expertise, openly debating the many issues
> > around FrameMaker from our often quite-different perspectives.
> > We do so with kindness, almost always without flaming, and with
> > respect for what we may learn from one another.  And, now and
> > then, with humor.  We may go off-topic, but we always return a
> > bit better for the journey.  Above all, we are a participatory
> > democracy; we have no "leaders" (though we certainly have our
> > elder statespeople) and need no policing, as we have no crime.
> > That is our strength, and it has given us a quality of life,
> > on the list, that we could well wish the larger societies in
> > which we work and live to emulate.
> >
> > Now, today, I see before us the greatest challenge to the life
> > of our community, as we have known it, that we have ever faced.
> > It is an insidious challenge, but no less deadly for that.
> >
> > Over the years, I've seen at least three list administators
> > come, and go.  Thay have always been volunteers who undertook
> > the minutiae of list management for no reward other than the
> > satisfaction of a job well done.  Never did one see himself
> > as the "owner" of the list, with any authority whatsoever over
> > the *content* of our conversations.  Until now.
> >
> > Brad Anderson has been different from the start.  He wanted
> > the list as a base for his business, and offered to provide
> > improved amenities in exchange for the good will he would
> > receive from Framers for hosting the listserv.  It seemed
> > little enough to ask, but it made me nervous; what if the
> > needs of the community conflicted with those of his business?
> > At the time, though, his glowing promises made that seem a
> > petty concern, and so I was silent.
> >
> > When Phong announced the transfer, he pointedly said that
> > since explaining the reason for passing it on was not a
> > "requirement", he was not going to reveal it.  That made
> > me nervous again; did Brad *buy* the list?  We will never
> > know, because neither Brad nor Phong will say...  Although
> > I was worried about the possibility of undue influence,
> > since all was not being done openly, again I was silent.
> >
> > As time went on and the amenities failed to appear as had
> > been promised, I felt a bit concerned.  But there was no
> > agreed timetable, so the out-of-date FAQ, the broken list
> > archive, the bad links throughout the Web site, were each
> > excusable for a while.  When I was asked to pay $500 for a
> > product listing in what was represented as an "impartial"
> > roster of Frame-related products, I declined on principle,
> > as I felt it was a misleading business practice... but
> > again, I was silent.
> >
> > Last December, I posted a news item about a problematic
> > practice by Microsoft involving contractors, including
> > to my knowledge several list members, with this caveat:
> > >Posted here because of its major importance to many
> > >developers, including *web* developers, on this list...
> > >It appears to include technical writers too, according
> > >to the text of the law as quoted at the end.
> >
> > Brad responded off list (and this is his entire message):
> > >Do NOT post messages like this to the Framers list
> > >again.  List list is for FrameMaker topics only.
> > >
> > >Brad Anderson
> > >list owner/operator
> >
> > I was taken aback by the sheer incivility (as other list
> > members had written and thanked me for the heads-up), and
> > also by the "owner" claim.  I considered pointing out to
> > him that censorship of content has *never* been a role of
> > the Framers list administrator.  But I shrugged it off;
> > it was easier to be silent.
> >
> > In late August and early September, the list was having no
> > end of technical trouble; the list software was obviously
> > at fault.  I was unable to post myself until I resubbed
> > with a new name and address, something many members can't
> > do as easily as I can (having my own domain).  I wrote to
> > Brad several times, and never got an answer or any help.
> > But I didn't complain; he had just threatened, on Aug 18:
> > >If there are those of you that do continue to post these
> > >types of "complaints" to the list, I will start a list of
> > >email addresses (and add those individuals) that will be
> > >restricted from posting to the list.
> >
> > So despite the gross mismanagement and abuse of the whole
> > community happening right in front of me... I was silent.
> >
> > Around Aug 29/30, Brad and Dan Emory engaged in a debate on
> > the merits of FrameMaker DB-integration products.  Brad did
> > not win.  I learned independently that Brad had a financial
> > interest in the success of the product he was advocating,
> > an interest he had not revealed to the list.  This is not
> > ethical.  But I wasn't free to identify my source, so yet
> > again, I was silent.
> >
> > On Sep 11, Brad told the list that:
> > >Dan has temporarily had his posting priveleges suspended.
> > The reasons given were an absurdist mixture of lies and
> > distortions, and Brad himself violated established rules
> > of Netiquette by reposting a private message from Dan.
> > I was shocked; I have not always agreed with Dan's views,
> > but I certainly support his -- and everyone else's --
> > right to have them heard.  Brad went way, way past any
> > possible justification... and there seemed reason to
> > believe that it was primarily intended to keep Dan from
> > raising questions about Brad's new product, just the sort
> > of abuse I had feared at the outset.  But... it was only
> > "suspended", not "revoked", Brad would get over it, why
> > start a flame war... so I was silent.  As were almost
> > all of you...
> >
> > On Sep 29, yesterday, Brad responded to the criticism of
> > his action by Bill Briggs, David Spreadbury, Bj0rn Smalbro,
> > and Lynda Simons with:
> > >... If they fail to still abide by the rules, their posting
> > >privileges will be suspended. ... This is not up for debate.
> > >... The rules have been set.
> > while adding a brand-new rule for silencing critics:
> > >Do not post messages for other people, including those that
> > >have their posting privileges suspended.
> > and clarifying that Dan was *permanently* exiled:
> > >Dan ... has now had posting privileges revoked.
> >
> > Then Thomas Regner chimed in:
> > >For those of you making noises about "freedom of speech"
> > >on this or any other private forum... bunk.
> > >In a democracy, you elect who runs things for you.  On the
> > >Internet, you don't elect anyone.  Any list owner has the
> > >ultimate say over what will be posted and what will not be
> > >posted.
> >
> > But Brad is not the list owner in that sense; Framers is a
> > community that existed before Brad, and hopefully will yet
> > survive his malfeasance and bullying tactics intact...  And
> > yes, we *do* believe in freedom of speech here, which just
> > happens to be part of the Universal Declaration of Human
> > Rights, a treaty that has not been suspended in Cyberspace.
> > But we only get to keep freedom of speech if we are willing
> > to stand up and *speak* when it is being abridged, to speak
> > our truth to those who would immorally abuse the power they
> > were granted by the community to manage a *technical* task.
> >
> > And so I cannot remain silent any more.
> >
> > I have, therefore, made available to my community another
> > alternative to submitting to this abuse of authority.  I
> > have set up a majordomo list, called "Free Framers", for
> > all of us to share and run as a community.  I am donating
> > the listserv, and my own services to manage it; in fact,
> > the cost is *very* small, under $180 per year.  I am also
> > donating Web space.  My business will *not* benefit from
> > this; I guarantee that!  Nor will I be the manager of the
> > Web site; I'd like to ask for other volunteers for that.
> > We have plenty of bright, talented members who would do
> > that job far better than I... and I want the "power" to
> > be spread around, as in truth it is.
> >
> > I would like to invite all of you to join.  Our first
> > order of business is to discuss and resolve, as a group,
> > how we want to run the list.  What rules *do* we want?
> > What *limits* do we want to place, to prevent another
> > disaster like Brad Anderson from befalling us?  I do not
> > have any pat answers, but I do have a deep and abiding
> > trust in the Framers community to come up, collectively,
> > with good ones.  I trust our list democracy.
> >
> > Several of you have already joined the new list.  If you
> > have not, please send a message to majordomo@omsys.com
> > with "subscribe framers" without the quotes in the body
> > of the message.  I am looking forward to continuing our
> > conversation there.
> >
> > Thank you for coming with me on this journey.  It has
> > not been an easy one... but I think it will lead to a
> > better future for us all, and for all of the Framers.
> > Together we will make it so.
> >
> > --
> > Jeremy H. Griffith                        jeremy@omsys.com
> > VP, Software Development             http://www.omsys.com/
> > Omni Systems, Inc.             California and Vermont, USA
> >

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