People Who Year Seven Report
People Who was unable to maintain our own server and we forfeited part of the second year and all of the third year grant from CMHS ($40 000) back to the Clearinghouse. The archives and web files that were located on the three computers that comprised our server are not available. The peoplewho.org and peoplewho.net domains have a web presence and the registration for both has been transferred and renewed. The Madness Group lists that stayed at (or returned to) St Johns are still there - MadGrrls, ClubMad, and MadSpirit and the iris list has been created there. The four dozen lists that were on our server have scattered, some have been cancelled, some have sprung up again on free servers like egroups and topica. Support lists seem strong; adhoc lists work; ongoing advocacy lists seem problematic. There is no umbrella or master list that coordinates. There is rudimentary web coordination of the lists I know about at the "lists" link web page at peoplewho.org. The Madness Group voting membership in WFMH was renewed, and People Who expressed interest in joining WNUSP.
I have had several discussions with People Who about specifically what to do next and generally where the Internet is going. Support from CMHS for web development and conference attendance activities has been refused. Thats given me the freedom from responsibility to step back and try to see a pattern or define the need. So this seventh year has in part been a personal sabbatical, and in part has given me the time to accept other opportunities to particpate in and contribute to overall rights advocacy.
What I think is that weve done the job we started in 1993 of creating a Person Who presence on the Internet. Ive come to think the job of coordinating our presence, creating one portal, evaluating resources is a goal that perpetuates the existing systems and models and devalues the richness and spontaneity of electronic resources. And it also needs serious funding and full-time paid staff. Where Im stuck is in not knowing what next needs doing.
I am wondering about electronic conferencing and havent yet experienced software that I would want to try for us. In case that is the next step, more of us need our own computers. We can all be finding local ways to get wired, get donated computers, find a local Internet provider to donate access, so that most People Who become Internet literate and we are able to find each other here.