Re: Censorship in Scouting
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Mon, 20 Mar 1995 00:34:50 CDT
David Brown <dbrown@PCUG.ORG.AU> writes:
(deletion only for space)
>As I said I am totally shocked by this use of power and am unsure of how to
The same way many of us in the States feel when we are stonewalled by
those in authority at our National Office about usage of Scouting
resources to share information and to "get the true story" about
issues out to "the field". Our National Office in Irving, Texas, is
silently and curiously "monitoring" the "effectiveness" of such forums
as this one and Rec.Scouting. I get about three inquiries a week for
"transcripts" of our conversations here from local Council Executives.
My "pat responses" has been that 1) I don't have the "authority" to do
this since it is a public resource; 2) that those "transcripts" are
publically available to ANYONE requesting them by way of electronic
mail to our listserver, asking for "logs" from prior months (but NOT
from the present), and 3) that I would be more than happy to assist
them in getting an electronic mail account and/or access to Scouts-L
whereby they can read and *participate* as well.
(Because I also run an information management firm here, I also add
that access to both Scouts-l and Rec.Scouting is available through
many universities, colleges and businesses on "request" and that
we as a firm will be offering access to both by way of executive
summaries each day (like in the digest form, but shorter) sometime
when we can finally get our software to act the way it's supposed to.
Also, because I am NOT the list owner, I refer those that constantly
ask for those things to him...I've haven't heard anything in that vein
from Jon (Edison), so I'm under the impression that they choose to see
"how far they can push me into giving them what they want" or choose
to get the information in other ways.)
It's NOT that we're doing something "illegal" here...it's just that I
would like those that come to this forum, seeking answers and asking
REAL LIFE questions, NOT to be imtimidated or concerned about "will this
get back to my Council Executive? Will Scouter "X" in my District
read what I had to say about him/her and start egging my house? I
really want to know why we used to wear red berets but when I raise
that question at our Roundtable, everyone looks at me and starts
rolling their eyes!", and get those answers!
Please note, David, that NONE of these inquiries come from NATIONAL
folks...they have all came from either Regional or local Council
Executives (or their "henchmen/ladies") whom ask for "transcripts".
Our National Office is *not interested presently* in getting online
with the rest of us and could really care less in MOST cases what we
have to say about them, the program, or issues raised here. (they DO
listen, however, when we as a group confront them and tell them that
a policy or procedure is quite stupid or needs refining...and they do
"go back to the drawing board" and refine it for everyone!)
>I know of no declared National Policty that would deny the use of the
>Internet for Scouting purposes and in fact I know that the ACT Branch is
>keen to find a way of using the net successfully. As an example, people are
>quite excited about the work Alistair Honeybun is doing on the web.
(if you haven't checked out Alistair's Web pages, you need to do it if
you can...it's really great and shows some of the potential that this
medium and Scouting together *can do*!!)
In the USA, our professionals are DISCOURAGED from participating in or
becoming part of an electronic online forum. I have copies of several
memos which were circulated in the last part of last year amoung
those at the National Offices and the four Regional offices, stressing
the need for "proper information flow" between "our National staff,
the Regional staffs, to the local Council staff and in return, to the
volunteers we serve". It is the BSA's contention that electronic
forums disrupt and can damage the flow of information to the
volunteers in the field from their local Council (and from the local
Council to the National Office). Therefore, they only want
information to come from OFFICIAL, PRINTED PUBLICATIONS of the local
Council and the National Council, BSA.
(If I had one of the largest inhouse printing companies in the USA, I
would want it that way too!)
If a professional (and we have several here) CHOOSES to become an
online member, he or she does so AS A PRIVATE PARTY and in no way
represents the BSA or their local Council, even if he or she states
that they are serving in a professional capacity with the BSA. As
I've recommended to those whom asked, they *need* to let their Field
Director/Director of Field Services/Assistant Council
Executive/Council Scout Executive KNOW that they are online and in
what forum(s) they are a part of and create a "disclaimer statement"
to go at the end of each and every message (even the "Hi! How are
you?" ones...!) Why? Because, even with a disclaimer, there are SOME
here that won't read or understand that a DISCLAIMER MEANS DON'T TAKE
ANYTHING I SAY AS WORDS FROM THE BSA!!!
And the professional, as an employee of a local Council, gets in BIG
trouble by telling another volunteer in another Council "what he or
she should or should not do". That's a MAJOR no-no!
That's what we're experiencing here in the States. Other than that,
we're free to do just about anything positively in the way of online
communications with others in our country and others.
(Now, saying all of that....the REAL reason why the BSA is NOT jumping
on the "electronic bandwagon" has to do with those catchwords of the
nineties....LIABILITY. All it takes is one bad piece of
"BSA-santioned advice" and the BSA has yet ANOTHER lawsuit on it's
hands to resolve. If the BSA santioned or approved an online forum,
which one would it be (THIS ONE!!! THIS ONE!!! *hehehee*)? Where does
it leave the others? Will the fact that the BSA "recommends" one
online forum mean that every Council and District HAVE to have a
computer to read "the daily information straight from National" every
day? What happens when the National Summary gets sent out
electronically and somehow a Council *doesn't get it* or *gets it
late* and a Scout or Scouter is injured or killed? (right now,
important information is sent to each local Council by pouch mail and
anything REALLY important is sent via fax.)
>Before I sent this I discussed this with another long term memebr of the
>ACT Branch who is likewise horified and hopefully it will appear before the
>ACT Chief Commissioner before the weekend is out.
Good luck. If he or she's ANYTHING like our National Director of
Operations, they'll stick to their guns and won't give even a
>I do not believe that this is Scouting and I think it should be stamped out
I most heartely agree with you.....this is the NINETIES, not the
FIFTIES or even earlier.....our Scouts are growing up in an
computer-aided environment (which has it's good and bad points, but
mostly good). They need to be able to communicate with others, and
this sounds like a good way to accomphish that AND let the world know
that Scouting has moved forward into the next age.
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services ___)_
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