November 26, 2006

Advocacy

As recently elected Advocacy Officer of the Warwick University GNU/Linux User Group, I have had to start thinking about what ‘advocacy’ in the context of the WUGLUG actually means.

There are a number of things I know it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean I should correct people every time they incorrectly say Linux or LUG, which is a habit I need to get out of. It doesn’t mean saying “ZOMG, Windows is teh suxx0r” because that immediately alienates a key part of the advocatees of a GNU/Linux User Group (which, for the time being, I will assume is people not using GNU/Linux). And finally, it certainly does not mean I have any right whatsoever to bitch about anyone, be they WUGLUG’er, Exec member or CompSoc’er.

In trying to divine what my role should be, I have asked myself three questions:

Meaning

What does ‘advocacy’ mean?

What
It seems to me that there are two main subjects which the WUGLUG Advocacy Officer should be advocating:
  • The WUGLUG itself, so the group flourishes and is able to better perform its functions, whatever they are decided to be.
  • GNU/Linux or, more generally, Free Software. The WUGLUG is a group for GNU/Linux users, by GNU/Linux users (to coin a phrase) and the majority of these users will spend a great deal of their time using and, to a lesser extent, developing Free Software. It will not be uncommon for the latter to take place within the bounds of the WUGLUG.
Who
There are three main groups of people to whom I should be advocating the WUGLUG and Free Software, to differing extents:
  • Members of the WUGLUG.
  • Members of CompSoc.
  • Other technically minded people.

I will expand on all these under-explored topics in future blog posts, when I am not about to drop dead of exhaustion.


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