BSA Internet Policy (Long)
Rodger Morris (rodger@FISHNET.NET)
Thu, 31 Aug 1995 11:40:31 GMT
George Hutcheson wrote:
>You, and the others who are in the know and share it, are providing much needed
>information, and I for one really appreciate it. Talk on the phone and you've
>reached one person, post to a listserver and you reach thousands. Talk about
>leveraging your efforts! Someday national has *got* to realize this, but until
>then - Keep Posting!
Most of the BSA executives at the national office are functionally
illiterate, albeit not in the way in which one usually thinks of
illiteracy. Simply put, they do not understand these newfangled
technologies, have little wish to do so, and are afraid that the
utilization of computer technologies will cause them to lose control
of the information stream that constitutes most of their "raison d'etre."
This, of course, is an oversimplification, as their _are_ BSA executives
who are making a real effort to learn how to use the new technologies
in the service of Scouting. As always, it requires a grass-roots effort
by the volunteers to educate these people. The BSA is simply going through
the process that for-profit businesses went through about ten years ago.
To pull a similar situation from history, consider the advent of the
telephone about 1885:
The head of the London Stock Exchange said (quoted from memory):
"We have no need of this 'telephone'. We have more than enough messenger
boys here in Great Britain. Perhaps the telephone may prove to be of
some use in the colonies or in America, but I doubt it."
One progressive mayor in the USA waxed enthusiastic about the new
technology (likewise quoted from memory):
"Why, this telephone is a wonderful device! It will revolutionize
communications. Why, I can forsee the time when every village or town
of any size in America will have at least one telephone!!"
The BSA national executives are the modern-day equivalent of the head
of the London Stock Exchange in 1885. We who read and contribute to
SCOUTS-L are the modern-day equivalent of the mayor. We can but dimly
and inadequately grasp the full effects that the current and future
technologies will have on Scouting, so we shouldn't get too smug
about the ignorance of those illiterate BSA executives in our employ.
The BSA national office is still staunchly insisting that we have no
need of telephones because we have more than enough messenger boys.....
Scott Adams, the creator of the comic strip, "Dilbert", wrote a
humorous article for America On-Line, wherein he split the human
race into three evolutionary categories:
1) Computer power users, who would evolve into noncorporeal, godlike
beings, who will eventually rule the universe (except for those
in tech support).
2) Computer users who pretend to be power users, but who secretly
use hand calculators to add figures together before putting them
into their Excel spreadsheets. They will gravitate into jobs such
as high school principal and pet crematorium owner, and will
eventually become extinct.
3) People who cannot use computers. They will devolve, and will
eventually sit in cages throwing dung at tourists.
I am precluded from being in the first category, because I work
professionally in computer tech support. <GRIN>
In my experience, most BSA executives fall squarely into the third
category. Fortunately, in recent years, an increasing number of the
District Executives, and even Council Executives (mine included),
are falling into the second category. We even have a few DEs who fall
into the first category, some of whom are SCOUTS-L participants.
Eventually, one of these people will become Chief Scout Executive.
When that happens, we shall see the proactive adoption of
"man-multiplier" technologies. Until then, the BSA's adoption of
technology improvements will remain purely reactive in nature.
Yours in Scouting,
Rodger Morris <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 852, Camarillo, CA
Ventura County Council, Boy Scouts of America
National Woodbadge 416-18, Philmont, 1973
"I used to be a Beaver..."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City