[CS-FSLUG] OT: Adventures With LXer & CharLUG

Don Parris parrisdc at gmail.com
Thu Nov 16 20:21:49 CST 2006

Well, it's not entirely off-topic, but...

I just thought I would drop a note to share my adventures with LXer &

Since appointing myself as a FOSS advocate for the Christian community
(since no one asked me to), I have somehow become deeply engaged with LXer,
a rapidly growing Linux news site.  I started with no previous journalism
experience and have stepped up, primarily through attrition, to become the
Editor-in-Chief.  Almost as soon as I stepped into my new role, I was
confronted with a protracted religious flame war in which I managed to earn
a great deal of respect among LXer's core readers.  That may not seem like a
big deal, but some acknowledged later having fears that I would impose my
religious views on the community.

Unbeknownst to me, my predecessor had engaged in some unethical moderating
practices, and my fairness & honesty have restored faith among the
community.  Some core readers who had begun to slip away returned, and have
become important players in our discussions.  Meanwhile, I am learning that
I must be careful to distinguish us as a news site, as opposed to a
propaganda site.  Sometimes you just can't win, with some people feeling
you've gone too far and others feeling you haven't even gotten the first
mile yet.  I have also learned why Dan Rather had to resign, as a journalist
truly has to earn the trust and respect of his/her audience.  Trust is
precious.  What's that scripture about, to whom more is given, more is
required?  Yeah, I think that applies as much to trust as to material

Since becoming the Chief Big Mouth, I have had to work hard to keep our
volunteer editorial team interested and active.  Now there's a challenge.
How do you 'fire' a volunteer?  Additionally, I have seen our publishers
change hands, which has led to the site becoming more responsive to feature
requests.  We are now working to post German-language articles in an effort
to further develop our European audience.  I have a great interest in
pushing for 'bureaus' in each continent, with teams providing articles in a
number of languages.  We have revamped the appearance and added the
Pre-Installed Linux database so people can more easily find computers with
no OS or Linux pre-installed.

I had said previously on this list that I was enjoying my adventure, and
thought I would let everyone know that I am still enjoying it.  I recently
banned one annoying user, which was something I had tried to avoid.  He's
back as another user, but we're simply watching to see whether he causes
more trouble.  So every job has its downside.  Still, even with junk like
that (which is very rare), I find myself having fun.  It's not a job; it's

As for the Charlotte Linux User Group, I was elected Vice-Chairman last
year.  Back in September our Chairman resigned, and we have not yet had
elections.  Hence, I am now the acting Chairman.  Thanks to a timely series
of events, I have been able to secure some presenters from Novell (and
working on Red Hat, IBM, et. al.), a sponsor to provide refreshments at our
Saturday morning meetings, and a room at the #2 community college in the US
to hold meetings.  Anyway, CharLUG will combine meetings with UNCCLUG
(University of NC-Charlotte) at CPCC.  If that confuses you, ignore it. :-)

On the business side, I am having to pick up where our other officers left
off.  I mentioned the Chairman resigning.  The secretary did nothing with
our by-laws, leaving us only an outline of what was approved to draft into a
real by-laws document.  Our PR officer left town.  Our LUG is fortunate to
have a guy who took up being the webmaster, and is also the librarian.  At
least our future looks bright.  Hopefully, we can one day organize a
Carolina LinuxFest, like they have in Ohio.  I learned a few great lessons
in LUG administration from the Ohio LinuxFest, and have been applying those
lessons here in Charlotte.

I don't know how I manage to spend time with my wife and daughter, but I
manage to get that in as well.  Anyway, that fairly well summarizes my
journey till the present.  I would be interested in hearing about your
journeys, especially the FOSS-related parts.  I appreciate all the prayers
on my behalf and ask that God keep me close to His side as I continue
moving, ever forward.

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