RATIONALE (prepared by Sandy Campbell):
One must assume that those members who support NCF (including the Editor of The Communicator), are sensible, responsible people who have the best interests of FreeNet at heart. In fact, the NCF 'concept' is based on, and depends upon, the good attitude and goodwill of its loyal members. Ordinary rank-and-file NCFers, members of the large 'silent majority,' may safely be assumed to be as quietly dedicated and supportive of FreeNet as are Directors, staff, and more high-profile volunteers.
The Communicator will, and should, live or die on whether it is able to grow into a publication that appeals to the good sense and goodwill of those members; to be interesting and useful to them in terms of their ideas of what NCF might be. It is not meant to be an "official" NCF newsletter, presenting the 'official' view of Board or staff-- except when Board or staff submit an 'official' statement for publication. And it is not designed to be a replacement for the unmoderated rough-and-tumble newsgroups, but as a place for news, views, and opinions respectful of reasonable community standards of expression.
Those who have read the latest issue of The Communicator will agree that it is the strongest issue to date. There is nothing radical or irresponsible about it. Sensible, responsible members have begun to contribute and there will be many more as the effort continues. The main hitch is low readership and that is because most members are not aware of the existence of The Communicator. It has been 'promoted' only in a few newsgroups, which are seen by only a tiny fraction of the membership. This is the equivalent of printing a newspaper, storing the finished copies in a warehouse in a remote industrial park, and putting a little hand-lettered sign on the door inviting readers to come in and buy a copy.
The obvious, no-cost way for The Communicator to reach its targeted readership is via MoMs. Members would not consider this SPAM, any more than they would consider any news from or about NCF to be SPAM. After a reasonable trial, it would become clear whether or not The Communicator was able to attract enough 'hits' to prove that it was interesting and useful to a worthwhile percentage of the membership, at which time a 'subscription' model might be considered.
Frankly, I think this "rationale" is unnecessary: The Board should not need 'convincing' that any responsible contribution by members should be encouraged and supported. Of course, the Board would judge any request for support that might come before it for a member initiative, on the individual merits of the initiative. It is generally accepted that volunteering at NCF is a privilege, not a right: Therefore, in terms of support, there should be no blank cheque-- but neither should there be a stone wall.
There is nothing to be lost, or risked, by supporting the effort to "build" The Communicator-- and, potentially, there is much to be gained.