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Re: TI has a lot to do?

Jun 06, 1996 07:38 PM
by JRC

On Thu, 6 Jun 1996, Dr. A.M.Bain wrote:
> I agree that TI has a lot of work to do, but will the members get
> together and do it?  Ideally TI needs its own Web page with its own
> links and its own Web identity - like "" or "".  I asked
> Rudy to put some other links on the present page, but it is on his own
> Net provider, and so Rudy has control of it, and did not respond.
> For TI to really make an impact needs work done by its members, and some
> sort of income or sponsorship.  Sponsorship would be best in some ways,
> so long as the sponsor(s) did not want to control what was put out.

Alan ...
	Well, for what its worth, I don't have very much $$$, and even
less time, but I can write HTML code, and certainly could write the
script needed to create & link a set of TI pages ... and if a project was
made out of it, perhaps a number of us could contact other philosophical
& spiritual organizations with Web pages & trade links (i.e., we put
links to their organizations on one of our pages, and they put a link to
ours on theirs - quite a common thing on the Web).
	Last time I checked, to register a domain name was somewhere
around $500.00 US (i.e., to have an address that actually reads something
like <> instead of piggybacking
on another - e.g. <http://www.jrcecon.selway.umt/Theosophy_Intl/TI.html>.
I'm not sure, however, that the cost is worth the benefits - as if the
page is linked right ... it won't really lead to very many additional visits.
	The other possibility is ... if some kind TI member checked with
their service provider - I know that some services *include* Web space as
part of what a person gets when they sign up ... usually around 5 megs of
memory space (far more than enough if the pages aren't graphic-intensive)
.. so we may actually already have some members who could host the TI
pages with no additional cost.

	Before even really beginning such an endeavor, however, there is
a deeper issue to take up: What is out *intent* in putting the time and
energy into "TI Web"? What, *specifically*, do we hope to accomplish? Who
do we want to reach? What do we wish them to do when we reach them? *Who*
will answer questions, and how will they be answered ... the members are
all people who, for the most part, have had siginificant involvement with
one or more theosophical organizations over the years - what happens when
a newcomer - who may have only vaguely heard of theosophy, *asks* "What
is TI?"? What do we say? "Well, you sign up!" Okay. Now what? Well,
that's pretty much it (-:). Do we encourage people to do things? Read
literature? *Which* literature? Do we encourage them to join theos-l?
Tell them about the formal organizations? Which ones? How do we present
	We must also remember that the Web requires a very specific sort
of presentation to be successful - think of it as the computing version
of "channel - surfing" on a TV. *Most* who cruise the Web visit dozeens
of sites every time they log on. It is most assuredly *not* a place for
long, ornate philosophical statements (tho' I suppose one could create
links to such things) at least in the initial pages. I mean ... we don't
just want say "ooohhh, cool! Look! We have a Web page! - with the end
result that we feel quite pleased with ourselves, but neglect to notice
that hardly anyone visits it, those who visit quickly move on when faced
with five pages of nothing but dense text, and the few who do make it
through find they have no idea what to do once they've finished.
	Having worked with several non-profits in the creation of Web
pages ... I've found it to be a *very* interesting process ... to be
effective, the process *forces* the organization to clarify (often for
the first time) exactly *what* face they want to present to the world at
large - in a sense it is a form of "magic", as it is really nothing less
than the *delibrate construction of a personality*. And that means
everything must be taken into account: The page must be lively, with a
reasonable balance between text and graphics; the text must be conscise,
powerful, but written in approximately a high-school level of vocabulary
(e.g., words like "Avalokiteswara" probably won't help the cause tee
hee). We would want the pages to carry spiritual, intellectual, and
emotional content, and have a pleasing physical appearance as well.

	(Sorry to be babbling here, and I must go `cause I'm *really*
busy just now, but just thought I'd throw in my two cents as I just spent
the last week writing a Web page for a group, and it's kinda on my mind
right now. A TI Web page would be great, but we would really need to make
a *project* of it if we want it to serve a *purpose* beyond simply having
it ... something that many organizations never grasp. There is a lot of
just outright *hype* about the Web, but just putting a page on doesn't
mean anything. For instance (and this is not to say anything against Rudy
who I kinda like) we already have Rudy's page ... but has anyone other us
even visited it? Has, in short, *anything* come of it save TI visiting it
once and saying "gee that's nice"? I don't mean to sound overly harsh
here, but a failing that has plagued theosophical organizations for quite
some time is that they continually start projects (often committing
substantial resources to them) without ever even bothering to define what
they want to accomplish, and in the rare cases where desired outcomes are
vaguely defined, never check to see whether the outcomes have been
accomplished - and I'd hate to see TI fall prey to that trait).
						Ta ta, -JRC

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