[LINK] Link's Influence

Tom Worthington Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Wed Mar 28 09:48:30 AEST 2007

At 12:11 AM 27/03/2007, stephen at melbpc.org.au wrote:
>... In my experience Link is quite influential indeed. ...

It is difficult to gauge how influential. The influence of the 
"Linkers" get a mention in Peter Chen's 2000 PHD thesis on the 
Australia's online censorship regime: 
<http://eprints.infodiv.unimelb.edu.au/archive/00000240/>. In Peter's 
thesis, there are 14 references to the "Linkers", including a 
marvelously complicated diagram on page 155, showing the relationship 
between the Linkers, CSIRO, the Senate committee members, Cabinet, 
government agencies and so on:

"Figure 7-2 places these organisations and individuals in a box 
marked the "Linkers": they were connected to the political process 
through the provision of information through formal hearings and 
investigations, and informal connections and personal interaction. 
... What binds the groups together is the individual membership of 
many of their members in the "Link" email list (hence the name 
"linkers" describing members of the list). Established in 1993, Link 
developed over the years into the key mailing list for IT and 
Internet-related issues. While Internet content regulation was never 
the sole focus of the list, it fostered a great deal of debate and 
information exchange on the subject of government Internet regulation 
..." <http://eprints.infodiv.unimelb.edu.au/archive/00000240/01/AOCR.pdf>

  I was interviewed for the research and am quoted in the Thesis 
giving the game away by saying how I would post things and then check 
with the Ministerial staff to see they had read them.

>a topic bought up on Link gaining currency (all of a sudden) in 
>various political forums ...

Peter didn't just interview people, he did a statistical analysis. As 
all the Link postings are online, as are news reports,  an automated 
analysis could be carried out to see if what was said on Link later 
appeared in the media. Of course it may just be that Linkers discuss 
things which are current and would have appeared in the media anyway. 
So any analysis would have to ask some of the reporters where they 
got their news from. Of course if the reporters are plagiarizing Link 
(or the Linkers plagiarizing the news), then they may not welcome the 
analysis, but that seems unlikely.

>... Link were to receive due recognition if it is true. ...

We should put Mr. Barry up for an OA 
This would be for his significant contribution to fostering online 
services to the community, as per Link's charter: 

Tony may modestly say it was someone else's idea, but Tony is the one 
who has done all the work over the years keeping it going 
and  keeping us all in line (mostly).

Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd            ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617                http://www.tomw.net.au/
Visiting Fellow, ANU      Blog: http://www.tomw.net.au/blog/atom.xml  

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