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Public Access to Theosophical Forums

Jul 24, 2010 06:03 AM
by MKR

Recently, when I visited a theosophical discussion forum, I noticed that the
contents are accessible only to those who have signed up, while some time
back it was open to anyone in cyberspace. I was surprised.

It was the wisdom of the Founders that TS was setup as a uniquely democratic
organization. (There are some operational issues, I will discuss later.)
Transparency is a built-in protection to keep democratic organizations
strong and on track. For example, all proceedings of the US Congress and US
Senate take place in public and broadcast live for the entire country to

Typically, anytime any organization or its leaders get involved in decisions
about public access to information and views and discussions about it, there
is a natural predisposition to limit access because it serves the purposes
of the leadership and (their imagined) welfare of the organization.

It may be recalled that years ago TSA tried to setup a fully moderated
maillist and it fell on its face due to lack of participation. Those in
charge at that time did not learn the lesson and remove the moderation and
make it flourish; but it died a natural demise. It is possible that fear of
openness and its consequences may be behind the decision.

Right now, in one of the National Sections, election of the General
Secretary is going on. While there is some Internet discussion is going on,
it is restricted to only the members, again showing the organizational
predisposition. Transparency in discussions can only help the Section and
the candidates. No one should be afraid of discussion which may bring up
facts and questions and views.

In any open organization, discussion about it and its present and
potentially future leadership in public will protect against unwise and self
serving decisions being made due to lack of information and facts. Without
open discussions on Internet forums in 2008, no one knows what would be the
current status of TS today if the sitting International President was not
re-elected and also what might have happened if the ill fated ultra-secret
disenfranchisement attempt was not broadcast to the world with the help of

The messages and archives of this and its predecessor maillist  have always
been public and open to anyone to access. It was one of the wisest decisions
that has helped world-wide participation and in the opinion of many members,
one of the greatest protections for theosophy and TS. Thanks goes to Eldon
and his predecessor for their foresight.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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