¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Travelling ‘to’ CIX is also simply a question of issuing a command, but having done so, one encounters CIX’s ‘front door’; a login screen. CIX is not a part of the Internet, although it can be reached via the Internet; non-members will encounter login procedures which prevent them gaining access. In Bey’s model, CIX is a part of ‘the Net’ rather than ‘the Web’, since the exclusion of non-members requires that the system administrators have the power to keep them out. Subscription is the key to the door. A paid up member opens the door by following the logging in procedure, and once this is done the system responds with an update of the participant’s account.
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Inside the system, one finds three types of conference; open, closed and confidential. Open conferences are just that – open to all CIX members; closed conferences require the prospective entrant to request membership from the moderator of the group; while confidential conferences are by invitation only. There is a structuring of the discussion space which is more hierarchical than the open public ‘spaces’ of Usenet. Some members have found this to affect the demeanour of other members and impair communication:
¶ 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0
***** can't help feeling Cix is not exactly suitable as a haven 4
anything (it must b something they put in the power supply round
Cix-towers, makes some Cixen a bit irritable).
¶ 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Yet CIX has built its reputation on providing conferencing facilities which allow members to communicate without the need to contend with the levels of redundancy which Usenet newsgroups invariably suffer from. This is the double-edged sword of electronic communication; on the one hand it democratises communication, but on the other, that very democratisation creates too much information and discussion to serve purposes of those with specific needs. The ‘private space’ of CIX together with the powers of the system administrators ensures that any redundancy is the responsibility of the group itself. The system administrator’s powers rank alongside those of despots and dictators in their potential for absolute control over the conferencing space; “banishment is a severe punishment, and the threat of it can be an effective form of discipline.” [Mitchell 1996: 155] Theirs is not power which can be used indiscriminately, however, since it is in the interests of the facility to allow conference activity to be as free as the participants wish.
¶ 6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 It is a moderator’s job to maintain orderly conduct within a closed conference, by screening membership and contributions. This job has been described as being “like herding cats,” [Nguyen & Alexander 1995: 112] since the members values their freedom of expression very highly. The same values of freedom of expression are, as a result, evident at each level in the conference hierarchy, reinforced by the technically identical way in which each conference works. It seems like the self-similarity of a fractal where, at each level of magnification, the same elements are embedded in the details as are embedded in the whole. “So a new logic has emerged. The great power struggles of cyberspace will be over network topology, connectivity and access – not the geographic borders and chunks of territory that have been fought over in the past.” [Mitchell 1996: 151] While physical boundaries may have dissolved in cyberspace, they have, at least on CIX, been replaced by ones made with software.