Volume 3, Number  4                          27 January 1986


       Tom Jennings

                           THINK BEFORE YOU LEAP
                                About IFNA

               There is a file being sent around attacking the
       proposed IFNA, or International Fido Net Association.  If
       you haven't seen it yet, you probably will.  Please read
       this in it's entirety.  If you don't, then don't even bother
       to talk to me about it.

               Even though parties involved have since apologized,
       serious damage has been done.  The authors did not contact
       any of the people mentioned in the IFNA proposal to ask what
       was going on.  There was no real information in the attack,
       merely unthinking slanderous paranoia.  Please, learning to
       read implies a responsibility to learn to understand: IFNA
       is not by any means the commercialization of FidoNet, it
       does not mean mandatory fees, etc.  Please read on.

               The IFNA project is now somewhat damaged.  That was
       a very preliminary proposal, and way too early for such
       exposure.  It was not meant to be public, it was way too
       early.  They were ideas of the top of our collective heads,
       as everyone involved realized.

               What is IFNA, and why?

               If you have been a FidoNet sysop long enough, you
       may remember the flap over the net/node reorganization
       during the summer of 1985.  There were complaints that
       "things are working fine, why mess with it?"  The assertion
       was true, at the time it was running quite smoothly, before
       we changed it.

               At that time the net/node changeover, a major upset
       and organizational change, was made for "the future".  You
       may have noticed that that future is here now; if you will
       think back, you will realize that the entire nodelist then
       was smaller than some of today's nets.  At that time, the
       reason for the change was the lack of hierarchy in the
       network; now we have nets that completely run themselves.
       Today's FidoNet with almost 700 systems, runs smoother and
       more efficiently, with less national bureaucracy, than it
       did two years ago.

               There has never been, is not now, and if I can help
       it never will be any sort of ideological or moralistic
       influences in the net administration.  What a sysop does on
       their board, short of illegal or outright damaging actions,

       Fidonews                   Page  2               27 Jan 1986

       is totally and completely their own business.  This idea was
       not talked about, merely implemented, and it permeates
       through the entire organization to this day.  Please realize
       through all of this that the FidoNet, as it exists, is
       totally and completely decentralized as much as is
       practical.  I don't think that many people realize just
       exactly what this means, or how it came about.

               Since FidoNet is totally and completely
       decentralized, it makes large scale operations and changes
       difficult to say the least, never mind trying to pull off
       some coup that no one would cooperate with!  Those that
       designed FidoNet in this fashion are amongst those that
       understand this fact best.

               And now, I'll cover some specific points in the
       attack.  I will not grace all of them with comment.

               The IFNA proposed "membership" does not mean that
       Fido sysops, users, networks or anyone is forced to pay for
       anything, period.  The "membership fee" is proposed to be
       for services and goods provided above and beyond what we all
       have now; seriously, how on earth can anyone in FidoNet make
       anyone else do anything?

               To illustrate this fact, pick a node from the node
       list, far away, where you don't know anybody, and demand
       that the sysop pay you $50 every year.  Good luck.

               A printed publication mailed to your home costs
       money.  A full or part time employee to maintain the
       nodelist and other related functions costs money, and yes,
       things are getting to that point.  Once again, because
       things are moving very smoothly, you normally don't see the
       effort behind the lines.  (I am not talking about myself, I
       do not have anything whatsoever to do with running the net,
       thank Ken and Sally Kaplan for most of that.)

               "Advertising" things such as the radio amateurs'
       FidoGrams, or individual sysops' services to the deaf is not
       "exploitation".  It is informing people of a service that
       they probably didn't know existed.  And how could we
       "exploit" a service that we do not perform, and have no
       control of?  FidoGrams and such are done by individual
       sysops, on their own machines, in their own living rooms.
       The assumption also was that all efforts here would be done
       or directed by the people involved in it.  Like I said, the
       proposal was brainstorming, and incomplete.

               The "magazine" (really just a newsletter, but called
       "magazine" to avoid confusion with FidoNews) is not meant to
       compete on the newsstands; it is meant for FidoNet users and
       sysops, and others only secondarily.  Similar to the
       position of Boys Life to the Boy Scouts of America, if you

       Fidonews                   Page  3               27 Jan 1986

       are familiar with that.  And yes of course it is proposed to
       have some of the better articles from the electronic
       FidoNews; ask any potential author if they would object.
       Compensation and such is yet to be determined, and will
       depend on income, of course.  Like I said before ...

               I'll be damned if I can think of how having a
       printed mag could hurt anything, except the ones putting up
       the dough for printing it.  It will explain how new sysops
       can get started, a list of Fido phone numbers for new and
       existing users, general interest articles, and infinitely

               As to objections to users "...  knowing how
       economical and easy ...", since FidoNet mail is there, and
       is the WHOLE POINT of FidoNet, and justification for writing
       it in the first place, we have an obligation to let non-
       sysop users know what it is and how to do it.  It does not
       mean you have to do it on your particular board.

               The attack on "...  assigning policy, rules,
       guidelines and procedures for FidoNet" is foolish; what do
       you think we do now?  The national network time slot,
       utility programs (LISTGEN, nodelist formats), coordinating
       FidoNet packet format between the various authors (Fido,
       SEAdog, Rover/gateway, FIDOUSER, etc etc), generating
       nodelists, and so on fall into this category.  It has to be
       done, it's done haphazardly now, just ask anyone using the
       Fido .MSG format about attribute bits.  You think this falls
       from the heavens, fully formed and ready to go?

               The idea of a FidoNet itself is unlikely as hell, an
       "International FidoNet Convention" isn't quite so unlikely,
       since I just came back from one.

               "Old FidoNews' on diskette or hardcopy, fees to be
       set." Yes fees, for IFNA to issue them in that form, of
       course!  You can still download them!  I don't see why all
       of a sudden that would just go away.  [ed: it wouldn't]

               Insurance proposals, like I said, this was brain-
       storming, it may very well turn out to be a waste of time.
       Just an idea, sorry!

               However, as far as "working with computer
       manufacturers to obtain discounts ..." that's not quite the
       same thing.  How many FidoNet sysops have US Robotics
       Courier 2400's?  I'd bet 90% of all the 2400 baud modems you
       see in the nodelist are USR's.  And why?  Because USR made
       the special offer to FidoNet sysops *FIRST*, that's why.  It
       IS a good modem.  Are there any objections to that sort of
       thing in the future?

               As to the tacky doggie: yes, the artist is quite
       aware of the proposed deal, since it is me.  Except those

       Fidonews                   Page  4               27 Jan 1986

       who purchased my old FidoNet bumper stickers (hopelessly
       amateurish) you have not seen the dog.  We do not propose to
       sell ASCII character strings.  It may be egotistical, but
       I'd like to have a Fido sweatshirt, as a matter of fact,
       I've been asked to make some, so I am anyway.  Unlike car
       insurance, no one will be required to waste their money on

               Junk mail: the proposal says "controlled (ie.
       voluntary) mailing list".

               "Political action committee": just an idea, there
       are people rumbling about this now, IFNA should support it.
       It is obviously in our interest, there are people there now
       supporting us, we might as well support them with numbers of
       organized sysops and users.

               "...  library of FidoNet utilities ..." no,
       obviously, it does not mean exclusivity.  The phrase "BBS
       DISTRIBUTED" tells it all.  Our proposal was for prepackaged
       diskettes, with docs, to benefit the authors, IFNA, and the
       customer who did not care to download large amounts of
       utilities at random to find what they want.  More on this
       later, when the proposal is complete.

               "To provide a liason between FidoNet and public
       service activities."  To get "... discourage efforts of
       others ..." from this paragraph is impossible.  It just
       isn't there.

               "IFNA would be the exclusive distributor of an
       Authorized Distributor package ...".  Right now, Fido
       Software (me) is the exclusive distributor.  If you are not
       aware of it, I sell Fido/FidoNet to paying customers.  And
       allow it for download.  I do not allow others to sell it.
       My customers are businesses and individuals who do not want
       to download, or who did for evaluation purposes, and now
       wish to have the manual and update services.  To those who
       run a Fido as a public service, both individuals and
       companies, it is free.  It has been this way for years;
       please read POLICY1.DOC.

               There are other points that I'm just not going to
       bother to touch.  I gave credence to a lot of it be merely
       mentioning it.  That was not my intent at all, but it was

               Both Ken and I have spent large sums of our own
       money to help run FidoNet and keep it all together in the
       last few years, never mind the hundreds of hours of work
       involved by many, many people in the last few years.  Please
       refer to page INTRO-4 in Fido's Operating Manual.  It's just
       the tip of the iceberg.

       Fidonews                   Page  5               27 Jan 1986

               IFNA's only task is to run the net independently of
       any personalities, and take over the many tasks of
       documenting and running the net.  It needs to generate
       income to pay for it's operation, and to provide the
       services proposed, not all of which are in the proposal that
       leaked out.  It is not a way for any of us to skim money
       from any sysops or users of FidoNet, and I am sorry for you
       if you believe that.

               Not everyone is out to screw you, this is not a TV
       show, there is no cloak and dagger business here.

       F I D O  N E W S --                   Vol.12  No.26    (26-Jun-1995)

	From: Fredric Rice (1:102/890)
	As always, I was and remain utterly correct

	Fredric L. Rice
	1:102/890.0  (818) 335-9601

	When I first suggested the immediate ejection of any sister-
	fucker who spouts/threatens 'lawsuit' to FidoNet SysOps, the
	positive response was overwhelming and only one critic stepped
	forward publically in FidoNews to rebutt the Policy addition.
	At the time I warned that the spewers of ideological hatred
	would be the eventual death of FidoNet as a viable, useful
	hobby.  They can't win an argument rationally because their
	positions of hatred are undefendable.  They can't win in the
	courts but they're not _interested_ in winning: They rely upon
	the S.L.A.P.P. lawsuit -- intimidation and financial ruin to
	'win' their undefendable positions.  The spewers of hatred
	know that the bright, positive, happy, fulfilled individuals
	they target will rightfully judge the effort of defense and
	quietly bow out.
	FidoNews 12-26                 Page: 17                    26 Jun 1995

	My fears have certainly been vindicated, haven't they?

	As usual the religious zealots among us can't be happy with
	both the freedom and the enjoyment the rest of us experience
	in our hobbies (FidoNet is but one positive human achievement
	under attack by superstitious ignorants) and they've got to
	beshit and befoul the honest, loving, positive, hard-working
	among us due to their petty, religion-demanding hatred, spite,
	and resentment of all that's positive.

	FidoNet mistake number 1 was the vote to disband the IFNA
	        which could have been used to successfully counter
        	the bastards among us.

	FidoNet mistake number 2 was the abolishment of a yearly
        	dues to be listed in the nodelist payable to the
	        IFNA.  These monies could have also been used to
	        successfully counter the bastards among us.

	FidoNet mistake number 3 is the continued lack of any Policy
        	statement strictly forbidding the threats of legal
	        actions, making the offense grounds for immediate
	        ejection.  All SysOps who wish to be listed in the
	        nodelist is already supposed to read Policy 4 and,
	        if they agree with the terms, submit their request.
	        Any threat of legal action against another SysOp with
	        the rule in effect would have been a clear violation
	        of the agreement which resulted in connectivity.

	FidoNet mistake number 4 is to continue to allow ejected
	        individuals (and entire systems of individuals) access
	        to FidoNet and even at times to allow ejected
	        individuals back into the network.  All decisions
	        should be final.  Joining gated 'alternative' nets
	        should not bea loophole for allowing ejected fucks
	        from still participating in FidoNet unhindered.


	I want to see Policy 5 ammended and then voted upon.  I want to
	see George Peace come back and I would like to see everyone
	petition Mike Fuchs to continue in his work and ask him to not
	let the perpetuators of hatred win.

	There's already enough hate-spewers winning in the real world.