Saturday, 26 July 2008

What do the outsiders see?

Is it a truism that every organisation needs to examine itself thoroughly from an external point of view from time to time? To not only look for validation of what it is doing (and how and why) but to ensure that the image it is portraying to the general public is the right one.
I am a member of the Open Rights Group and subscribed to their main discussion list. From inside the tent things look good but then I saw something that a friend wrote:

I don't so much mind Andrew Orlowski being a bitter and twisted polemicist, but he could at least get his facts straight.
'The British ORG [Open Rights Group] originally grew out of a campaign against copyright, and a contempt for creators and peformers is what binds it together.' it didn't. This is the original pledge, which mentions nothing about copyright. And, while it's clear the ORG is by no means perfect, I'd certainly not say it had contempt for creators and performers - there are frequent, balanced debates between a bloke who runs his own music company and the rest of the list. Shame, really, as the ORG *does* have a tendency to be a little smug about it's own (eg, the people who post most) and some decent opposition could help keep it on the straight and narrow. What a wasted opportunity. - Catherine

I will admit that last bit struck a chord, I don't know what is being done in ORG's inner circle, but I hope that there is work going on to keep the campaign grounded, relevant and coming across appropriately to the general public. The sort of things I am talking about is sessions working with external perspectives; opposition position work/devils advocate arguments; reviews of media coverage from a neutral point of view and the like.

I would say the same about the other campaigning group I am a member of, CAMRA but that tends to have the opposite problem, there are plenty of differing points of view, so the list of motions at the AGM will always have at least one pair that contradict each other. On the other hand we do manage to run a pretty fine beer festival.

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