The other day I was watching a question and answer session with Linus Torvalds, the man behind the Linux operating system. He was asked to comment on the way Linux develops; with thousands of people being loosely involved, fragmentation all over the place (there are lots of Linux distributions), and without a clear goal. Thorvalds' answer was that it's all about evolution. Software is never developed from scratch knowing exactly what the user wants; instead, programmes evolve over time. It's not only natural, it's also desirable. Setting clear goals and designing a detailed plan about how something is going to work puts limits on outcomes and implies you know exactly what you're doing - and, of course, very rarely do people know what they're doing all of the time. So it works with software, and so it works with organisations, nation states, and the universe. It's all about evolution.
I'm mentioning this because it made me realise the Stop Junk Mail project could do with more openness. The campaign involves a large amount of work and, as it's a project I run in my spare time, I hardly ever get round to working on ideas for specific campaigns. At the same time I feel I should be doing other things. I ought to be earning money developing websites, and instead of spending my evenings reading about the latest developments in the world of junk mail I could be studying history or listening to Bach.
In short, it's time for a different approach. I've set up a newsgroup where I'll be posting regular messages about any aspect of the Stop Junk Mail project. Whether it are practical issues or ideas for campaigns, everything can and will be posted. If people run off with ideas without the decency to say 'thank you', so be it. I just hope they'll do it right. At the same time people are invited to join, share their thoughts, and help rid the world of junk marketeers. I've no idea if it'll work out, but it sure will evolve :)