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Should we really be an "advocacy" site?

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memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 30 weeks 6 days ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12

Kevin Dean linked me to an interesting article on The Jem Report called "Revenge of the activist-writers". While its tone seems a bit bitter and I'm sure many would say some of the things said are unfair, something in it does ring as quite true.

It is easy to just assume sides and become an advocate of one belief rather than an advocate of truth whatever it may be. Mind you I've been ranting on my blog about something I called "truth relativity" referring to the "fact" that we can never really know the absolute truth, but rather our own perception and interpretation of it, truth relative to us and our individual experience. Yet acknowledging this "relativity" actually boosts the motivation for standing for "truth, no matter what it is" rather than just backing out and saying something like "everyone's wrong so who cares".

Back to the point, reading the Jem Report article reminded me of some good old day on Libervis.com when we were envisioning this site as not just a ghetto for a particular side of the arguments, but rather a completely open discussion site which would welcome opinions of all kinds including those which may argue that proprietary software is a better way, for example. The argument was that, if we welcome ALL opinions in a discussion, no matter how opposing they may be to what me or you currently believes in, we better challenge what we believe in and assuming we are open minded enough more effectively evolve our thinking.

Libervis.com, occasionally, did publish articles that go against the prevailing currents here. For example, "Of hypocrisy and the FSF" was an article that would in eyes of some quickly, albeit temporarily, paint Libervis.com as an anti-FSF site merely for allowing someone to express a negative view of FSF. This then led to having to explain ourselves because some people thought the story signified "bad press" for Libervis.

But it's not much wonder considering that this story is just one in a pile of otherwise pro-FSF content. Now, this is not a call to writing articles against FSF just so we can even it out. But in all honesty, it is a call to revive this old way of thinking we used to have about this site, to be a real discussion site and not just propaganda and an "advocacy" site.

However, in order to achieve this in a way that wont be confusing and largely misunderstood we need to be very clear where we are going and what we are doing. We need to have a clear disclaimer that will say that each article on this site is the opinion of its poser, INCLUDING articles written by the site owners, moderators and site members. In other words, Libervis.com would stand for NOTHING except for ONE thing: freedom of speech and expression and a truly open discourse. As such Libervis.com couldn't label itself as pro-Free Software or pro-Free Culture nor could it be branded as against Microsoft or against DRM, proprietary software etc. We can say libervisco is against Microsoft, but Libervis.com is not against any one company. In those terms, it is state-less.

Libervis.com, instead, is against any and all impediments to a truly open and accepting conversation.

Maybe we should throw away my fairly biased "featured news" section and focus on writing real opinions and enticing continued discussion instead. Let's put the content of these forums on the front page instead of featured news? We don't need to talk about news, we can be the news by being that rare place between communities that actually doesn't advocate anything but that simple thing: freedom to think and talk (share your thinking, no matter what it is).

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Daniel Memenode signature