[Linux-aus] Media Officer Now

Stewart Smith stewart at linux.org.au
Fri Feb 6 12:13:01 UTC 2004

On Thu, 2004-02-05 at 23:32, Pia Smith wrote:
> I really like this idea. Last year I was the media officer, and although
> we got more media coverage than ever before, I would like to further
> that role/responsibility this year (http://linux.org.au/press/ <- out of

Yeah - as I've said before - i like the idea too.

> date by a few months). Last year we all got so tied up with getting the
> organisation fixed up that little time was left for important stuff like
> media watching. I think having a core group of people actively working


> at media issues is a good idea, with maybe people in the community
> volounteering to 'watch' known groups of sites that tend to spread FUD
> so we can quickly work on defensive action. I would personally like to
> be very involved with such a group, and I have to stress that it is
> important that such a group be accountable to the community. Perhaps a
> sub-ctte of LA would probably be a good way to go.

an active group watching out for things definitely would be a good idea,
and a great help. Not all things are worth responding to, and some just
aren't in our league (or may require a larger can of worms) - but there
are some things that I think we should say loud and clear.

> - Better recognition of and smiting of FUD when it pops up

Not all FUD needs to be smited by us, some stuff is just pure
silly-slashdot-argument and could make us end up looking like a bunch of
whinging-hippy-unshaven-linux-lovers-who-can't-stand-anything-against-our-os-that kicks-the-butt-of-yours-even-if-it-doesn't people.

but something like "linux users made virus X because they're an
agressive group of openness loving source sharing bigots" in a major
news publication at least deserves a polite letter to the
publication/editor indicating how wrong they are.

> - Better pro-active open source advocacy and education

Education good, advocacy bad.

basically - education boils down to supporting training, certification,
confs, seminars, roadshows etc

while advocacy seems (to me) a bit too pro-active and "we're always
right" attitude. It's also just too much for LA (ctte and active
members) to do - Linux advocacy to big business, govt, SMEs etc is what
vendors should be doing as part of their marketing campaigns.

Vendors note: marketing makes you win, (that and actually making it easy
for people to get your product). This is how Coke sells heaps, bottled
water companies actually get you to buy their stuff (why, oh why, oh why
people do i'll never know) and how MS got 95% market share.

LA could take on the role of saying (to a FOSS interest govt) "hi govt,
you should talk to vendor X" and to vendors "hey vendors, talk to
govt!". but we shouldn't be the ones going in and talking with them for
three weeks about the benefit of FOSS.

> - A more efficient point of contact for media

agreed - this would be good.

> Saying 'the Linux community believe ...' will always be wrong for at
> least some of the community, but being able to say '80% of the Linux
> community (x no' people) believe that ...' starts to become interesting,

simple phrases such as "the majority of the linux community (hobbyists,
users, vendors, developers) are nice people who don't write viruses" is
just as good (if not better, 'cause then nobody can waste your time
debating your statistics[1]).

[1] A trick I learned off a fellow debater in high school was something
called the "Dima's bureau of statistics". It basically meant that when
you needed a statistic you pulled one out of your arse that complied
with the argument you wanted to put forward - even if the truth was the
complete opposite (lots of people think- then it's 90%, only some - 60
or 70%, nobody at all - then it's 10 or 20%). It works because nobody
really wants to get up and spend 10 minutes arguing about a few
percentage points here and there ('cause they'd loose).
but it's not a good idea to use this bureau if you're actually going to
be scrutinised on what you say (i.e. somebody can actually dig up the
facts before you leave the room).

> especially the no' of people bit. Governments listen at least in part to
> large groups of voters :) Some polling efforts were started last year by
> Kim and a few others, maybe we need to explore how best we can extract
> 'leverage' data from our community.

polling is problematic because it requires people to go press buttons
etc. gauging the vibe off linux-aus on issues, then proposing what to
say to the list (and getting that vibe) would probably be more than
adequate - it would probably beat a poll in accuracy of community
feeling. (but that's my theory :)
Stewart Smith (stewart at linux.org.au)
Vice President, Linux Australia

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