Free to be whoever you want

Over the years, I have found that many people want to belong to a community… and at the same time they want to be themselves. This is not necessarily a contradiction — but you do need to be aware of your own identity.

For example: If you define your role, function, activity, and engagement in life as an employee of a company, then the attention you pay to the corporate organization interferes with your ability to engage in social behavior — and the same holds if you define your identity via an organization such as facebook.com or twitter.com. Such organizations create organizational rules, and such organizational rules lead to organizational behavior which is not free.

This is what leads me to the idea behind the freezine project. What I want to offer here is the opportunity for you yourself to be able to choose who you want to be, to be part of a community that respects each other, and also to provide a platform upon which people can also trust each other and behave in a civilized, responsible and reliable manner. It’s that last point that is the most difficult part.

For people who already have their own digital identity (i.e., a domain name), the Online Community Organization provides a space to exchange ideas that is both vast and deep (and growing). In addition, I am starting another project @ URLadd.org which is intended as a marketplace for sharing and exchanging ideas and other content between webspaces far and wide across the world-wide web. But the freezine project, instead, is intended to fill a huge gap: A place where people can create and build their own identity without the requirement of being restricted to any rules, regulations, terms of service, user agreements or whatever.

How am I going to do this without becoming a spam magnet, a website for hoodlums and hackers to wreck havoc on innocent, naive little children of the web — which most of us essentially are?

Simple: I am going to require that you “sign on the dotted line” when you sign up. You will be responsible for anything and everything that you post.

“Well that’s easy!” you may be inclined to say — as you ready yourself to sign up a new gmail or yahoo email account…. Ah, but there’s the catch: Such spam email addresses mean nothing to me. If you want to sign up, then you will have to pay a nominal fee (perhaps 99 cents) via an online payments service. That way, you have a name, a number, an address, etc. — and if it turns out that someone says you are a troll or a terrorist and wants to know who you are (and they are the police or the government), then I will simply hand over the information provided to me at signup.

Granted, this is not a perfect solution — but I think it is a damned good one. What do you think?

In particular, please tell me what kind of online communities you are most interested in / looking for — for example, at:

If you were to join one new online community, what kind of focus would you like that community to have?

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