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Subject: Dave Hayes/Freedom Knights: An Alternative View
This article was archived around: 26 Mar 2000 13:30:05 GMT
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DAVE HAYES / FREEDOM KNIGHTS:
AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW
Version 1.1 (9610.03)
Maintained by J.D. Falk <email@example.com>
Hypertext markup originally by Adam Frey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Is Dave Hayes for real?
2. Are the "Freedom Knights" for real?
3. Is "True Free Speech" actually possible?
4. What can I do?
1. IS DAVE HAYES FOR REAL?
Yes. As far as anybody has been able to tell over the years, he is
usually completely serious. But, his own NNTP server generally
In general, Dave Hayes presents himself as an alternative to the
anti-net-abuse newsadmins in news.admin.net-abuse.* (please see the
Net Abuse FAQ at
http://www.cybernothing.org/faqs/net-abuse-faq.html for more
information on those newsgroups and their purpose.)
This presentation is not at all incorrect. Dave is striving towards
a vision of Usenet wherein people can say whatever they want,
wherever they want, whenever they want, and nobody can say anything
about it. He calls this concept "True Free Speech."
Most of the other news.admin.net-abuse.* regulars are working on
keeping the current Usenet from becoming more of a mess than it is
now. It is in-arguable that this would impinge on a person's right
to True Free Speech, if that right had been guaranteed to them by
all the news administrators of Usenet, all over the world.
If you ask most newsadmins, no such right has been guaranteed, or
even offered, except by Dave Hayes -- who also, in practice, does
not guarantee such a right (just try to post through
news.jetcafe.org, which Dave runs, and you'll see what I mean.)
2. ARE THE "FREEDOM KNIGHTS" FOR REAL?
Dave has written that the "Freedom Knights" are a group of people
fighting for free speech in Usenet. They're not the only such
group; the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy
and Technology, and the Voters Telecommunications Watch are only a
few whose goals include freedom of expression on the entire
Internet and Usenet.
While all of the people who call themselves "Freedom Knights" give
lip service to free speech, some of the most prolific of them seem
to be more interested in gaining power for themselves. They have
been known to post things like "newsadmins are not necessary to the
people's usenet," which is patently ludicrous because news servers
do not run themselves, or ad-hominem attacks against people who do
not take them seriously, such as accusing UUnet newsadmin David
Lawrence of raping children.
These so-called Freedom Knights have done more to hurt the
credibility of Dave Hayes and his goals than anything else ever
3. IS "TRUE FREE SPEECH" ACTUALLY POSSIBLE?
It would certainly be nice to think so. Imagine a Usenet Utopia,
where people politely discuss things of mutual interest, without
anybody to tell them what to do or where to do it.
But what happens if somebody starts to be purposefully destructive,
starting long drawn-out arguments and feeding the fires whenever
they see an opportunity? This happens all the time on the current
Usenet -- what would cause people to act differently in a Hayesian,
True Free Speech Usenet?
How about inconsiderate advertisers, hawking their wares daily in
every newsgroup? Dave suggests killfiles, which would allow your
newsreader to simply not show you specific types of messages. But
nobody, not even Dave, has yet been able to come up with a method
which will automatically killfile new problem messages.
Hayesian "True Free Speech" is a noble goal. I, for one, honestly
wish it were possible -- and I'm not alone. But, as with many
Utopian dreams, the propensity for conflict which seems built into
the Human psyche would ruin such an endeavor before it could even
4. WHAT CAN I DO?
Be polite to each other -- remember that there's a human being on
the other end of your conversation. Make sure that anything you
write is appropriate for the place you're posting it; becoming
familiar with Charters, FAQs, and related documents is a good
Most of the people who post inappropriately do so because they are
new to Usenet, and don't know any better. Be constructive in your
criticism. Give them advice, not flames.
Strive towards a Usenet of cooperation and understanding. Only then
can True Free Speech be realized.
This document is Copyright (c) 1996 by J.D. Falk, all rights
reserved. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced
electronically on any system connected to the various networks which
make up the Internet, USENET, and FidoNet so long as it is
reproduced in its entirety, unedited, and with this copyright notice
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