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Slashdot in Politics?

Cliff posted about 13 years ago | from the redirecting-that-passion-into-action dept. 422

Michael "Codetalker" Obersnel asks: "I was wondering if anyone out there had any ideas on how to turn all that passionate talk on Slashdot (how I love it) into a political force that people will pay attention to. Like a lobby group or something similar. It seems that people tolerate the DMCA and spam enough to complain about it but not really do anything about. I think we could change that with some organization and a cohesive front. I'm not suggesting that Slashdot itself be responsible, only that the community take part. Like a micro-payment system to hire lawyers for topics we are interested in or some sort of petitioning system. I know I'd pay a buck to overturn the DMCA, free Dimitri, outlaw spam, protest license problems, protect the GPL etc."

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Here's an FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346281)

The NFL returned Sunday after a week off
with a few surprises and underlying themes.
CNN/SI's Laura Okmin talked with Sports
Illustrated's Don Banks to get his views from
Week 2.

A Story of Courage (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346283)

Loyal readers of Slashdot, being concerned citizens of the world, no doubt remember the recent news story of the inspiring and courageous Erik Weihenmayer, a blind man who climbed the world's tallest peak, Mt. Everest. Additional recent stories of courage overcoming adversity include one two years ago when eleven blind climbers ascended Mt. Kilimanjaro. A few months ago the "Anything is Possible" expedition climbed Everest featuring a climber with only one leg and a Sherpa with only one arm. And just last week, a mountaineer with both legs missing ascended to the top of Mt. Rainier in Washington.

But these are not the only stories of bravery, courage and determination in the fact of obstacles both internal and external that the world of differently-abled mountaineering brings to us. Since the controlling board of this site is concerned that most of its content is depressing, anti-life-affirming drivel, we bring you the following "can-do" story. While not technically mountaineering, the story of Colby Nickles' amazing feat does involve mountains and a heart-breakingly sad though ultimately inspiring physical handicap.


When Colby Nickles was born, no one would have ever dreamed that he would one day become a world-famous anal inserter. "His butthole was the same size as his peehole," his father recalls. "The doctors said he'd be crapping string his entire life."

One can imagine how much it must have boggled Nickles' family and friends when he told them that he wanted to be a professional anal inserter.

"I remember being in third grade, and we went around the room with all the kids saying what they wanted to be when they grew up. I didn't hesitate for a second, I said I wanted to be the best anal inserter that had ever lived," Colby recalls. "The kids laughed, and the teacher said, 'Everyone should have a dream, but we have to accept the limitations God has placed on us. No one with such an abnormally tiny anus as yours could ever become a professional in that field. How about firefighting?' But I was determined that someday I would insert very large objects in my anus."

Soon afterwards a gym teacher, Mr. Binks, learned of Nickles' passion and introduced him to the sport of "mountanaling," often just called "manaling." "At the time, the sport was just starting," Binks explained. "At the time, most anal inserters were just doing it at home or in dingy clubs for drinks and tips, but this got the activity out into the open and made it a sport. It separated the men from the boys. Anyone can shove a pencil sharpener or a gasoline can up their ass, but this takes real willpower and determination." As for Nickles' congenital tiny anus, Binks admits he was skeptical. "I told him all about mountanaling and his eyes just lit up. Like everyone, I was familiar with his disability, but when he looked at me and said he was going to do this thing, I saw that look in his eyes and thought, 'Holy shit, this kid is going to shove a mountain up his ass!'"

Nickles pursued his passion slowly at first. "I would sit around with friends shoving things in my anus just like all the other kids were doing. But when they would get tired and sore and go home, I'd keep right at it, night after night, day after day. I never gave up." His parents, concerned over his obsessive inserting and their fear that he would never realize his dream because of his disability, kept their fears to themselves. "We wanted him to do whatever he wanted with his life," says his mother, Alma Nickles. "He was always sensitive about his Lilliputian poop-chute. The other kids would tease him, you know how awful kids are, and he would tell him that he would do things with his anus they could only dream of."

Nickles' started slowly in manaling, gradually from small atolls to hills to buttes ("Yeah, everyone made the obvious joke when I was doing that, but I kept laughing even after the thousandth time 'cause I knew people meant well") and finally to his first classified mountain, seven thousand foot Terry Peak in South Dakota's Black Hills. "I did it in the summer, so there weren't any skiers, but the chairlifts provided for some interesting complications, but it was a great insertion, I'll never forget it." Nickles moved quickly to top-class peaks like Oregon's Mount Hood, popular for the smoothness of its slopes.

Nickles' recent conquest of Kilimanjaro made headlines around the world, despite the fact that pre-insertion media was subdued because of the Tanzinian's government strenuous opposition to the event. "Most governments on all levels of jurisdiction are opposed to the sport because they believe it deters tourism and degrades the public health," says Stanton Witchik, a lawyer who represents mountanalers on obscenity charges. "But the facts show that these events increase tourism. People get excited about looking at a mountain and thinking, 'Some guy shoved that up his butt!'"

While there are other larger mountains in the world, Kilimanjaro's shape made it the ultimate feat for Nickles. "You look at it, it just slopes out, out, out! But you can't let the mountain beat you. You stay loose up here," he said, pointing to his head, "you'll stay loose down there." Kilimanjaro is a feat even for experienced mountanalers, and many thought that Nickles wouldn't get past the ice cap, but on July 2, 2001, Nickles made history, inserting Kilimanjaro in a record 12 hours and 14 minutes.

"I know my disability will get the attention, but I am first and foremost a man who anally inserts mountains," he said proudly, "and only secondly a man with a unnaturally small anus."

There already is such an organization (4, Informative)

wiredog (43288) | about 13 years ago | (#2346285)

It's called the Electronic Frontier Foundation [] .

Re:There already is such an organization (5, Insightful)

supabeast! (84658) | about 13 years ago | (#2346323)

The EFF is not a lobbying group, it is a fund set up to help people whose freedoms are attacked unjustly. What we need is someone with the knowledge, experience, and leadership capabilities to start up a PAC (Political Action Committee.) that can lobby politicians for us.

This is the sort of thing that some of those loudmouthed leaders of the open-source community should really be doing, instead of running around trying to demonize Microsoft and other software companies, making the entire movement look like a bunch of cheap wackos.

Re:There already is such an organization (3, Insightful)

GreyPoopon (411036) | about 13 years ago | (#2346397)

The EFF is not a lobbying group, it is a fund set up to help people whose freedoms are attacked unjustly.

Perhaps this is not an EFF focus, but EFF should consider adding this type of lobbying to their list of activities, at least with regards to stupid laws like the DMCA and such. Since they are the ones busy trying to defend people who have been violated by these laws, they are probably also the ones with the most knowledge to lobby on them. Why invent a new group?

Re:There already is such an organization (4, Informative)

supabeast! (84658) | about 13 years ago | (#2346481)

Because that isn't what the EFF wants to do. Lobbying groups operate under very different laws and tax codes than nonprofit groups funding legal help do. If the EFF were to start lobbying, it would drastically change the entire organization.

Lobbying groups also tend to be considered somewhat less credible than politically motivated nonprofits like the EFF. Right now the EFF just helps out the accused and points out some bad laws. Because they are a group of people who could probably be making more money with less hassle doing something else, they get a lot of trust and respect from many people. If the EFF were to start taking donations to lobby politicians, they would be just another group of washington scum getting paid to help politicians buy elections by sucking up to the right people. The EFF would then become the NRA of geek politics, they would get a lot of support, shuffle around a lot of money, but in the long run they would earn quite a bit of disdain from outsiders.

Re:There already is such an organization (3, Insightful)

Deven (13090) | about 13 years ago | (#2346332)

Supporting the EFF is a good thing. However, there is a need for true grassroots lobbying efforts for the causes we're always fighting for -- sending money to the EFF may help them pay lawyers to fight the DMCA and other atrocities, but taking the time to let your congressperson know how you felt might have helped to keep the DMCA from being passed in the first place.

The EFF is important, but there seems to be a void on the grassroots lobbying side...

Re:There already is such an organization (2)

Alien54 (180860) | about 13 years ago | (#2346462)

The Electronic Freedom Foundation has a slightly different view than many people at /.

After all, many people reading here work at Microsoft [Joke!]

But seriously, the viewpoint is different. And so, while they are closely allied, they are not they same.

But setting up a system for political action would be difficult to administer.

There is definitely a need for a slash based political site as a start.

But I wonder about running such a foundation with a slash based democracy of sorts to determine policy and direction.

Some things would never get settled.

Re:There already is such an organization (2)

plover (150551) | about 13 years ago | (#2346338)

And how many such organizations do some industries support, both overtly and silently?

If one lobbyist is good, then two must be better. Right? Hey, it works for the tobacco companies...

EFF t-shirt anyone? (1)

SomethingOrOther (521702) | about 13 years ago | (#2346344)

The EFF is an excellent organisation
I reckon they should print some t-shirts saying,
"I'll carry an ID card when you shove it up my cold, dead ass"

Re:EFF t-shirt anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346430)

I assume you neither go to college, drive, or have a job. Great base of support for any cause right there, eh?

Re:There already is such an organization (2, Interesting)

Xenopax (238094) | about 13 years ago | (#2346347)

Perhaps Slashdot should create a permenant slashbox for this organization so everyone knows where to go to donate to fight things like the DMCA.

they meant a group that will be taken seriously (-1)

motherfuckin_spork (446610) | about 13 years ago | (#2346351)

or maybe I'm just an evil, bitter cynic.

Re:There already is such an organization (1)

famazza (398147) | about 13 years ago | (#2346383)

I'm not from US, but, anyway, I heard something about a lobbist organization for Techonology and Science development.

Does anybody remembers its name?

The EFF Like Spam (1)

UdoKeir (239957) | about 13 years ago | (#2346454)

They think it's perfectly reasonable for advertisers and con-artists to peddle their wares on your nickle: m/ HTML/19980729_eff_hr3888_letter.html

They just don't like it when you get more than one spam.

What happened to... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346286)

..."News for Nerds. Stuff that matters".

Damn, d00ds, this is a computer site, not CNN.

Lobbying Congresspeople (5, Insightful)

Deven (13090) | about 13 years ago | (#2346289)

If all the people who take the time to complain on here would just take the time to phone and/or write their congressperson, it would probably make a big difference. The other side is organized; why aren't we?

oh, stop it... (-1)

motherfuckin_spork (446610) | about 13 years ago | (#2346392)

that would take all the fun out of being a bunch of whining losers.

actually contact their congresspersons... ha! that'll be the day. I bet only 1% of the morons here have ever done that.

Re:oh, stop it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346435)

1% is being very generous. I bet the number is more like .001%.

Re:Lobbying Congresspeople (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346410)

The other side is organized; why aren't we?

'Cause we're a bunch of rabid nuts.

Re:Lobbying Congresspeople (2, Interesting)

JWRose (139221) | about 13 years ago | (#2346429)

While what you say is probably true, there's a differance between sending 1,000 individual letters vs. sending 1 letter with a 1,000 signatures. The chances of getting the 1 letter read are much greater than having the 1,000 individual letters read.

Re:Lobbying Congresspeople (1, Troll)

zpengo (99887) | about 13 years ago | (#2346446)

Congresspeople don't give Karma. Slashdot does.

The only reason people post passionate rants on here is because they want immediate feedback and adoration from the community; actual change is much less important.

The EFF (0)

eMago (267564) | about 13 years ago | (#2346292)

Then pay the

geeks are to lazy to be very political in general (3, Insightful)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | about 13 years ago | (#2346295)

we do what we do because we are lazy. if an e-mail won't cut it, well they just won't listen :-)

Re:geeks are to lazy to be very political in gener (2)

dpilot (134227) | about 13 years ago | (#2346440)

When the time came to write my anti-weakened-crypto letter, not only did I get it onto one page of dead tree, but I hand-delivered it to the local congressional offices downtown. Especially with all the WTC disruption, I had no idea how fast or slow mail delivery would be had I mailed the directly to DC. There's some sort of diplomatic-pouch type thing from the local offices.

Re:geeks are to lazy to be very political in gener (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | about 13 years ago | (#2346458)

like I said, in general. you are definatly up there with RMS, ESR and the minority of other Geeks who are not lazy, but most of us are.

And how would we call it? (2, Redundant)

Delirium Tremens (214596) | about 13 years ago | (#2346296)

We could call it the Elementary Freedom Fight or something like that, and even get a website such as [] . Oh, wait. That's already taken ...

Re:And how would we call it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346335)

How about :-)

Re:And how would we call it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346404)

The EFF aids hackers. They should all be held indefinitely on suspicion of Terrorism.

Re:And how would we call it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346465)

That was so poor it took my breath away. You should have put some more thought into it. In fact, I will.

Skip (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346298)

Skip it. Listen to the tv campaigns, they have enough political puke anyhow.

An idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346300)

I think we should just have 24/7 mindless Bush bashing. That way we can get all our leftist friends to boost ad ratings and show the Euros how cool we are. Anybody with me?

Re:An idea (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346348)

So when does the barbarism begin over there? Its been a week now and the
only thing bush (The Little Cheerleader F_gget) has done besides
reinforce the fact that he's a Bastard with every sound bite is to
position his little tin soldiers.

The last thing we need (1)

AnalogBoy (51094) | about 13 years ago | (#2346315)

Are screaming, katzian, verbose-but-meaningless idiots getting involved in polit....uhh... oh...

[Echoing D'oh!]

Nerd Lobby (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346316)

I'd suggest naming it as "Nerd Lobby".
I wonder how this could by any means work, and which kind of issues this lobby would care about.

Wow... (3, Funny) (114827) | about 13 years ago | (#2346320)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of lobbyists!

Ain't that a shame (3, Funny)

zpengo (99887) | about 13 years ago | (#2346421)

It's a shame that a Beowulf cluster of Slashdot lobbyists would typically be found running Quake instead of using all that power for something useful.

Death to Islam. Kill all Muslims. Nuke the Wogs. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346325)

The precious dead scream out for vengeance:
  1. Kill all Muslims.
  2. Kill all Mohammedans.
  3. Kill all Arabs.
  4. Kill all Towel Heads.
  5. Kill all Camel Jockeys.
  6. Kill all Dune Coons.
  7. Kill all Islam.
  8. Nuke their countries to hell.
  9. Nuke them again.
  10. Death to Islam.

I piss on Mecca. I shit on the Koran. I spit upon Mohammed.

Re:Death to Islam. Kill all Muslims. Nuke the Wogs (-1, Offtopic)

jimdesu (4951) | about 13 years ago | (#2346401)

You, sir, need to get a life. And a few muslim friends to bitch-slap your ass into the 21st century. The only thing sadder than pissant little trolls like yourself out trying to get some negative feedback(since you're incapable of garnering *positive* feedback) is that some people actually buy into your racist BS. Pity we're not allowed to kill racists; it'd make a great late-night TV show.

In the interim, grow up.

Re:Death to Islam. Kill all Muslims. Nuke the Wogs (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346459)

I don't know how to spell it correctly, but you forgot shieks. They are niether arabs or islamic, but close enough.

The EFF (1)

reynaert (264437) | about 13 years ago | (#2346326)

Join [] the EFF.

Or at least donate. []

You would think everybody on Slashdot would know about it by now.

students (1)

barimann (263665) | about 13 years ago | (#2346333)

maybe not lazy but half of slashdot readers are probably highschool/college students with no time or money to be of much help

One way /. could help... (5, Interesting)

CptnHarlock (136449) | about 13 years ago | (#2346341)

... is by allowing the EFF [] to have free banners on the site. If lets say every 50th banner is a free banner for the EFF then /. and Andover would really put their money where their mouth is. I mean there's anyway a decline in banner sells worldwide, that gap could easily be filled with "goodwill" banners... How'bout that Taco & Co?

Re:One way /. could help... (5, Interesting)

orn (34773) | about 13 years ago | (#2346385)

Actually, I think a Slashbox would be better. Split it into two fields. The first would be "Top Issues", the second would be "Recent News." Let them control it and let the articles link directly to their site.


Why bother? Others will do a far better job ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346342)

>>on how to turn all that passionate talk on
>>Slashdot (how I love it)

Why bother? It will only turn into a stage for
the minority? that think Linux will solve all
the worlds problems.

As we have been told over and over, if you don't use Linux, there must be something wrong with you.

There, I think I was the first person to say "Linux" in this thread. (2, Interesting)

alessio (39749) | about 13 years ago | (#2346345)

I believe that was the idea (or one of the ideas) behind Bruce Perens' Unfortunately, discussions between users never reached a critical mass to get out of cyberspace, and Bruce decided to shut the site down [] .

CPT, and whatever happened to... (2)

Masem (1171) | about 13 years ago | (#2346346)

There's the Consumer Project on Technology (CPT), which I'm still waiting for the results of the interview [] that were posted, unfortunately before the recent events. That is a lobbying group on many tech issues, and they appear to be pro-Slashdot-manta in several cases.

Start with (5, Informative)

mikosullivan (320993) | about 13 years ago | (#2346350)

At [] we are working to educate the government about the value of open source. We are a grass roots movement: each member of OpenSourceLobby "owns" his or her congressional representative and is in charge of establishing a relationship with that legislator and educating him or her about open source. We are also writing up fact sheets and talking points to assist lobbyists and other open sourcies in making their case.

We're just getting started, so it's a great time to join in.

Hah... (-1)

Vain (195850) | about 13 years ago | (#2346355)

Are you kidding? This community can't stop complaining about what linux distro is "best" and you expect them to coincide on an *important* issue?

Useful links would be helpful (2, Interesting)

jdgreen7 (524066) | about 13 years ago | (#2346358)

Something that I'd like to see on this site:

Links to congressional websites where you could email your representatives/governors/senators/president when an issue comes up that needs grassroots support. I know I've sent emails and written letters to the government after reading some posts here, but it generally takes a while to find where you need to go. Someone generally posts a link, but why not have it after the description of the issue?

Just a thought.

Because no one here exerts any effort.. (5, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | about 13 years ago | (#2346359)

Congresspeople and other politicans pay attention to three things: (1) manually typed, manually signed letters from registered voters with reasonable arguments and tone (2) contributions of $$$ (the more the better, but any amount gets attention) (3) contributions of manhours.

I suggested when the Dimitri issue broke that if 100,000 slashdotters typed out a letter to their Congressional representatives (quick - who is the house member from your district?) and mailed it in, then Congress would begin to pay attention to the debate.

The typical response was "I don't know where a manual typewriter exists {hint - your public library} and if I can't e-mail my letter I won't bother. And send in $50??? You have to be joking!".

So exactly why would you expect any politician to take anything said here seriously?


News for fat lazy morons, the stuff of apathy (-1)

motherfuckin_spork (446610) | about 13 years ago | (#2346416)


Re:Because no one here exerts any effort.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346443)

manually typed - What about just printing a letter - isn't that good enough?

Re:Because no one here exerts any effort.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346466)

The letters all have to be sent to the same politician. If you scattershot 100K letters to their individual representatives (Senate and House), it wouldn't do that much good.

Even if they did receive a large # of letters, chances are that a staff assistant or legislative correspondent would draft some sort of stock letter to be sent in response (if you remembered to ask for a response, because you won't automatically get one). Then they would ask an LA to come up with a position on the issue, so that the rep. can defend his or her position in public.

If you really want something done, find out what your rep's appearance schedule will be when they're back home. Show up and ask questions. Call your local media outlet, and suggest they do a story on the issue.

Bad Idea (3, Interesting)

FatRatBastard (7583) | about 13 years ago | (#2346365)

I think its a bad idea... at least to have it associated with Slashdot. If someone was to create something seperate then fine. But I cherish the independence of /.

Yeah, I know some will complain that it really isn't independent, that the same types of stories are posted, and there's an anti-MS slant, but I think Taco and the boys (girls?) do a much better job than most folks give them credit for. Plus, the real value of /. isn't the postings, but the replys.

Something would just sit wrong with me knowing that /. had gone from a really cool community (that anyone can participate in) to something with "official positions".

Just my .0215 Euros.

Re:Bad Idea (1)

THEbwana (42694) | about 13 years ago | (#2346439)

shouldn't it be:
just my 0.0183156 euros ? The euro seems to have strenghtened lately..

Re:Bad Idea (1)

FatRatBastard (7583) | about 13 years ago | (#2346471)

Could be (I just pulled the number out of my butt :)

Re:Bad Idea (-1)

l33t j03 (222209) | about 13 years ago | (#2346482)

It could be:

just my .02 shares of LNUX

yes, there is an but really get involved! (1)

linuxrunner (225041) | about 13 years ago | (#2346366)

How about instead of just donating money and hiring lawyers (please note in previous posts), we get someone, who represents the slashdot community, in a position of REAL power. Such as helping to get local selectmen, mayors, and senators/congressmen elected. These are the people who make / help make laws.

Helping someone who represents the slashdot community get into some of these positions would really make a difference in the short, and long run. And, if someone did get elected through this method and through our backing, it would make the slashdot community a viable player in the role of politics.

Just think of it, politicians asking for our backing.... wow! The day will and can come, if we have the right people, means, and support.... and none of this pushing some strange fourth party politician like I was reading during the presidential elections.... I mean a real, viable candidate!

Think of the possibilities!


Re:yes, there is an but really get involve (1)

platos_beard (213740) | about 13 years ago | (#2346417)

How about instead of just donating money and hiring lawyers (please note in previous posts), we get someone, who represents the slashdot community, in a position of REAL power

Slashdot is not real life (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346368)

Stop, take a breath, and look out the window. This is a special interest group you're in. It's called special interest because most people don't care about this stuff. Linux vs. Windows vs. FreeBSD? Region protected DVDs? Gigaherz laptops? GPL? None of this stuff is important. Enjoy it all, but remember to live.

I've seen what happens when a geek becomes a political activist, and it's called "Richard Stallman". Keep your priorities straight.

Ok, a political movement... (4, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | about 13 years ago | (#2346373)

...but for what? On these boards, people range from libertarians to conservatives to social democrats to socialists, with a generous sprinkle of anarchists, nihilists, new-age followers and so on ad infinitum. A political movement would become an excercise in flamage withing ten seconds of platform discussion.

A non-political, issue-focused lobbying group, on the other hand, could be workable. On the other hand, EFF fills that role quite well already.


Re:Ok, a political movement... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346419)

you're right in your observation, but there may be one other thing, aside from technophilia, which unites /.ers.

We believe that information should be free. That the best decisions are well-informed ones. That the best society is one founded on the best decisions. That if we choose to cooperate, we can accomplish more than we would if we didn't engage each other honestly and openly.

It's time we stop lobbying for open source software......
Let's form an open source economy.... with open source media... and an open source polity.


Re:Ok, a political movement... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346450)

Me, I'm a fascist. At least, that's what my libertarian friends tell me.

yea great idea (1)

Cynikal (513328) | about 13 years ago | (#2346379)

I can see it now. We'd have to start another disscussion board to rant about taco's lobbying against using windows (sorry, but i use it for games) or making "user friendly" ilegal, or perhaps even banning proper spelling and gramar?

Re:yea great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346395)

You mean proper spelling such as the word "ilegal"?

Re:yea great idea (1)

Cynikal (513328) | about 13 years ago | (#2346420)

could i get away with claiming i using the typo as an example?
i suppose not... busted :/

Do we need (1)

typical geek (261980) | about 13 years ago | (#2346382)

It may be a nice idea to have a /. lobby, but the /. community is an international one, and I doubt that more than half the readers are USian.

So, for any non-USian /. readers, I apologize for the provincialism of my fellow USians.

If there is no cake. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346384)

If there is no cake throwing, im down with it

All apologies (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346386)

I went to my congressman, and he said, quote
Sometimes I wonder what I'm'a gonna do,
cause there ain't no cure for the Slashdot blues.

EFF in Europe? (1)

Sarin (112173) | about 13 years ago | (#2346389)

EFF is for the USA only.
Are there other, perhaps more European-centric organisations, as well?

Re:EFF in Europe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346415)

EUpeons do not have a cultural sense of freedom. They are inherently drawn to autocratic governments. Thus you will not find groups that support freedom in a very real and meaningful sense.

Agreement (2)

zpengo (99887) | about 13 years ago | (#2346391)

I think it could help if we actually agreed on some of the topics. :)

There have been many times when, on a lark, I've posted completely contradictory comments, only to have both modded up as "insightful" and both having numerous replies (sometimes from the same people) telling me how much they agree.

For every Microsoft basher, there's a Microsoft fan.

For every "Free Dmitri" user, there's one who thinks that he ought to be in jail.

For every anti-capitalist, there's a capitalist.

I don't know that it's necessary a good idea to start hiring lawyers to represent a mob of people who all disagree with each other.

On the other hand, maybe that's the best thing we could do.

Re:Agreement (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346452)

In other words:

You are freely admitting that you are a TROLL.

Re:Agreement (1, Offtopic)

zpengo (99887) | about 13 years ago | (#2346476)

No. I post things such as a conservative viewpoint in one post and a liberal viewpoint in another. A troll is someone who posts contradictory things such as "" in one post and "Natalie Portman" in another.

"Passionate" does not mean "intelligent." (3, Insightful)

Junks Jerzey (54586) | about 13 years ago | (#2346398)

Now that sounds like trolling, but I mean this as honest criticism. To quote Nathan Torkington from a presentation he gave at a Perl conference: "Passion doesn't convince. Passion makes you look like an idiot or an asshole."

The problem with most Slashdot discussion is that it comes from people with tremendous lack of experience. Language battles and API wars are fought by college students defending and regurgitating what they learned last semester or what they read in John Carmack's .plan file or a Larry Wall speech. Realistically, especially in politics, you cannot force everything into a black or white extreme. A middle ground, like "I use Perl sometimes, and I also use Python, Lisp, and TCL" is more reasoned.

On Slashdot, you find people who not only stick to the extremes, but they stick to the extremes for extreme ideological reasons. A typical example is someone arguing the superiority of Linux over Windows XP without ever having used the latter. Because the former is Open Source, so it goes, it must be better. You won't get far outside of geek circles with these kind of hard-liner views. A geek in politics is like Jerry Falwell running for president.

I have a cunning plan... (2, Funny)

d5w (513456) | about 13 years ago | (#2346400)

Thinking of collecting donations for this currently nonexistent PAC: All we need is the mouse-click equivalent of a 900 number; say, an Amazon one-click donation link, or the equivalent. Then we get the URL posted in a lead article on /. and the /. effect produces an instant lobbying fund, the money supporting efforts against strategies like this so we can prevent anyone else doing the same thing.

Laws and sausages are made much the same, but sausages are better with mustard.

Here we go again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346402)

could some karma whore please post a link to the EFF? OK, seriously. You want your congressman to take notice of your causes? Close your friggin browser, pull out a piece of paper, and write him. Better yet, pick up the phone and call his office. He really doesn't give two shits about online polls, petitions, and weblogs.

My own personal problem... (5, Insightful)

CrazyBrett (233858) | about 13 years ago | (#2346403)

... is that I'm lazy and a procrastinator. I've been meaning to call/write my congressperson and senators for a week now, but I keep putting it off or forgetting it. To get me to do something, it needs to be easy, and it needs to be something I can't back out of once I start. Given that, I have a suggestion:

Remember when Microsoft sent out letters to people and told them to sign and send them to their representatives? Well, trying to force that on people was obviously silly, but the general idea was good. If I had a letter in my hand that said exactly what I wanted to express, and all I had to do was sign it and drop it in the mail, I'd have no reason to procrastinate.

Suppose we form a web site where good writers can put together coherent, intelligent letters on various issues. Concerned citizens can go to the site, browse the letters for one they like, and download it in a printer-friendly form. On the same site, they can also look up the address and fax numbers of their representatives, so all they have to do is sign it and mail it in.

Yes, I know the EFF has some of these features. However, it would be useful if the community could contribute sample letters, and if the process was even easier than it is now. Remember, the target audience is me, the lazy, disorganized procrastinator.

What we can do (2)

zpengo (99887) | about 13 years ago | (#2346406)

If we could implement some kind of karma system for letters to congressmen, all the passion that goes into hour-long rants here could instead go to something useful.

UK Campaign for Digital Rights (4, Informative)

dackroyd (468778) | about 13 years ago | (#2346408)

In the UK a group of people have formed the Campaing for Digital Rights (CDR ;), and our web site can be found at []

At the moment we are campainging for three things: Consumer Digital Rights,with regard to use-restricted cd's, to free Dmitry Sklyarov and to prevent dumb laws like the EUCD (Europes version of the DMCA) from being passed.

We have held a couple of protests outside the US embassy, to ask for Dmitry to be released, the first of which had a ten minute report on NewsNight, the BBC news review program.

On October the 6th we are going to start our leafletting campaign to raise awareness of the new brain-damaged cd's being released. A copy of the leaflet can be downloaded from []

Any people looking to take part in the campaign, should join the (now incorrectly named) Free Dmitry UK mailing list, which can be found at nfo/free-sklyarov-uk []

One Person, One Vote (1)

Sierpinski (266120) | about 13 years ago | (#2346409)

No matter what the issue is, there will always be opposition. There will always be the wing extremists who oppose the view so strongly, that they won't even listen to reason. That part won't change. Neither will the government as long as its run by white, middle to upper aged men who were born in the same era as my grandparents, especially when none of them understand the technology that they're voting for or against.

The best way that we (as constituents) have to deal with this situation in a peaceful way, is 1) to vote. Vote for the candidate who supports the same issues that are important to you. 2) Write to your congressman/woman and let them know how you feel on certain issues. I know a lot of people think that their letters won't help, but if all the Slashdot-ers all wrote to their representative (granted it wouldn't be the same person, but you get my drift), I bet that it would at least be read, if not acted upon.

The government was created 'Of, by, and for the people'. Well if the people don't like whats going on, its the people's right AND responsibility to change those in the government.

In order to make an effective argument, letters like 'u suck, get outta office' aren't going to do much for the movement. Instead, it will only strengthen the opposition's arguement. What we need to do is write logical, coherent letters, explaining the situation (I bet that a lot of these representative types aren't fully briefed on how it really is), give alternatives, and best of all, give good reasons.

Laws can be repealed, however it takes action on behalf of the people to make those changes. People shouting that they hate [insert elected official's name here] doesn't make a difference. What they need to do instead is vote their mind.

And for those out there who are really ambitious (and with no criminal background!) run for representative yourself! Which state is it that has an 18 year old congressman? Delaware?

I would definitely like to see some kind of lobby group, and I would be a part of it, as long as its peaceful, legal, logical, and creative. I'm not going to help or support a group that has an '31337 d00d' in charge.

We need to find someone out there that is empathetic to the feelings of people like us Slashdoters, and go with it.

Free Software Foundation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346412)

The Free Software Foundation is fighting for your rights. Users of GNU Software will be happy
to know that the FSF is the brainchild behind GNU. Check out Free Software Foundation [] .

Highly recommended for GNU fans.

Write your Congressman. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346425)

Contact your congresional representatives directly with any concerns you have. That is the surest way to ensure your voice is heard. I do once or twice a year.

Laziness (5, Insightful)

scott1853 (194884) | about 13 years ago | (#2346426)

It would be nice if politicians listened to us, but they just see us as minority group of finatics.

There's still a good chunk of people out there that believe in some mystical entity controlling our lives without any proof of such thoughts. Yet these are the same people that say "that's impossible" when they see what science is capable of. Like it or not, these people have more political influence than we do. They have more power because they are unified, with leadership and there's a lot of history behind them.

There's a lot of programmers here, and I'm sure they're all used to trying to see the big picture and chart all the variables. This is one of those BIG projects in mapping all the variables and figuring out their relationship. The major points are: there's little history in computer technology right now; t's still new and strange to a majority of people; pogrammers work long hours, and the pay is decreasing, leaving less time for political movements; and there is no single "leader" that represents us, which is very important towards political advancement. You can't expect politicians to summarize the demands of many individuals, all with different points of view. They're more likely to listen to an individual with well thought ideas and the backing of a large community.

What we have been proposing on /. is that the advancement of laws be stopped. We don't have any alternatives, we just want these laws to go away. You want to make a difference and be listened to? Propose your own laws that include regulations we can live with. You want to get the RIAA off everbodies back, weaken their economical standing or find a middle ground everybody will be happy with. From what I see, nobody is doing this. We're basically starting our own little war with every other industry including our own, and yet we're still not unified in our efforts of opposition. Last I checked, a group of separated individuals don't win wars against unified groups.

Why go for legislation? (2)

interiot (50685) | about 13 years ago | (#2346427)

It seems that there's at least a small amount of libertarian streak in the slashdot crowd. Some think that making more laws is not necessarily the way to go. For those people, education is the best way to improve the lives of others. Let them know of the alternatives and give them arguments for which might be best, don't force them to choose your alternative.

And lucky you: education can be done easily, by you, today. Spend some time thinking about how you can present your viewpoint, sift the wheat from the chaf, and when your topic of interest pops up during conversation, try to explain your viewpoint in the most consise and clear way possible.

"Peace BeTweeN AmeriCa and IsLaM!" (-1)

trollercoaster (250101) | about 13 years ago | (#2346431)

Yeah, baby!

Comment aborted

Get real. (-1, Flamebait)

Homewrecker (517770) | about 13 years ago | (#2346432)

You have got to be kidding. This is Slashdot, home of the nerds with big mouths as long as they have nothing personally on the line. Go ahead, ask these people to ditch the stupid handles and attach a real name and address to the political insanity that gets punted around this place and you'll be greeted with a strange silence. This is a group of alarmists who probably can't take a crap in a public bathroom for fear of giving the government a stool print by which they can later be identified and you expect them to rally behind a cause as real people? Pfft. Wake up.

Slashdot, above all else, is a place where the wildly uncool can appear cool by remaining hidden.

It already exists... (1)

jrennie (79374) | about 13 years ago | (#2346433)

and it's called the EFF. Do we need another lobby organization?


You bastards!! (2)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | about 13 years ago | (#2346434)

You just slashdotted congress!!!

Simple system: (4, Interesting)

nagora (177841) | about 13 years ago | (#2346442)

Open a fund, we give in money as and if we feel like it. The fund page has a (serious) /. poll on it of thing that people have nominated for funding and a "none of the above" option. Funding is paid out on a monthly basis in proportion to the votes at that point.

Only people with karma over 10 or who have paid money into the fund can vote (once per month) on allocation in order to stop skiddies and others manipulating the distribution too much.

The karma thing is basically saying "Anyone who is probably not a troll". Karma whores could be put off by charging 1 or more karma for voting.

Just a thought, off the top of me 'ead, pull it up the flag pole and see if the budgie bite.


Let the country's owners know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346444)

See, the big problem with writing your senator, etc, is that he only cares so much. The guys who finance his election are the ones that get the real response, because they expect to get the government they paid for (and often do).

When it becomes illegal to use strong encryption, for example, I think the best way we can get someone's attention is to make it clear to all online vendors that we can no longer do business with them because their sites are no longer secure. Make sure all your friends know that internet commerce is no longer secure, so they make the same decisions.

(Not that internet commerce is that huge a part of the economy, but it's the best we can do.)

Once the people who own congress start feeling the pinch, then they'll relay their discomfort to their legislative lackeys, who will in turn respond with legislation just as hasty and ill conceived as what we're rebelling against now.

The point is that if we have a hard time finding (buying) influence with our elected officials, our best bet is to turn the heat up on those who hold the real purse strings.

The real power of /. (1)

DrBoom (243523) | about 13 years ago | (#2346447)

... is of course the S [] l [] a [] s [] h [] d [] o [] t [] E [] f [] f [] e [] c [] t [] .

Sooo... congresscritters are thinking of passing a nasty ole law? Rob could just threaten to post a story like "An anonymous coward writes: Streaming video of Natalie Portmans hot grit's posted to the US Congress Web site. [] "([sic] - TacoLexicon in force. my real grammar is better.)

Congress would naturally cave in and meet all our demands. Well, maybe not RMS's...

This would be like herding cats (1)

T1girl (213375) | about 13 years ago | (#2346449)

We have every stripe of political opinion on this page. thus let it ever be! The day /. became a lobbying organization, it would lose its unique position as a forum where all voices can be heard (even if some get modded down)

not much clout (1)

hrbrmstr (324215) | about 13 years ago | (#2346453)

it looks like it has been said already, but 15-year-olds (note that i'm 2x that) tend to not have a great deal of clout with local, state or federal representatives (it might be the skateboards *:^).

however, some 15-year-olds do manage to get through adolescence and make the effort to go out and vote when they are of legal age - a fact that the politicians see to neglect.

to be honest, i'd trust my daughter to make more informed and wise decisions than most of the people i work with.

in reality, unless the collective, "slashdot-we" manage to create a to contribute to campaigns, real (to us) issues will never get real solutions.

This is all we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346460)

A league of misinformed, naive sheltered white guys. Leave politics to people who understand the difference betweens online _privelges_ versus laws. Leave politics to people who realize that Dmitri shouldn't be arbitrarily freed. Leave politics to people who understand that there is no 'right to privacy' anywhere in the constitution or bill of rights.

Slashdot posters are very uninformed people who need to read more news from varied sources and take a civics class. They are examples of why universal voting rights may be a bad idea. They don't even understand the basics of this country. 90 percent of them seem to think America is a democracy (and not a republic).

Aprilsfool (1)

Dr. (74418) | about 13 years ago | (#2346463)

This idea was performed as an aprilsfool joke by the big LUG, Skåne Sjælland Linux User Group, ( this year. The Party was named "The Linux Party" and over a period of few days 292 people signed up for it!

The SSLUG jokers said in a comment, that the party cannot be a reality due to the wide spread of political interest from the Tux-lovers. Although we all like the OpenSource idea, we cannot agree on economics, social plans etc.

On the positive side it showed that the Linux movement is coming from everywhere: Geographical, political, sexual etc. Beware of the paenguins! =D

Dr. Ø

NRA model (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2346469)

Just follow the NRA model. You've already got a bunch of fanatics. The next step is to figure out how to get their money. That will be a little harder since they are a bunch of thieving fanatics who won't even support their favorite music....

Coming window of opportunity / Jeffersonian issues (1)

dpilot (134227) | about 13 years ago | (#2346480)

Today on NPR they talked about the coming bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition. It sounds as if in the next few years, there's going to be a decent amount of noise about this.

What may be key to us is that Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark, and there will hopefully be increased interest in all three historical figures. Any renewed interest in Thomas Jefferson gives us the opportunity to bring up his politics, including his beliefs on copyright.

Some sort of Jefferson-fad wouldn't hurt Geek issues a bit.
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