In Wellington New Zealand a group of about 30 people gathered for all three days. They had installed dedicated lines of communication with the GHP. Professor Hamelinknote 105 and Professor Boafonote 106 in Nairobi chaired another node. They were involved in a special course for students on communication policies, which was hosted by UNESCO and the Institute of Social Studies (The Hague). And we had agreed to contact the Moscow connections of Captain Crunch. These were connections we knew of beforehand and with whom we had agreed certain communication protocols, so their participation could be part of the programme in the large auditorium. Such 'protocols' are discussed in several faxes and e-mail communications in the Organization Folder. For example we agreed with Wellington, New Zealand that they would be online for 30 minutes before the programme started. After listening in for about 45 minutes the chair would ask them, via chat mode, "please Wellington, your comments and questions please", after which it was agreed that this communication would go on for 10 minutes. This worked out more or less with Wellington and Moscow, as will be discussed in the reflection on Social Interface. In the case of Nairobi, because of the Kenyan telephone system at the time, the link that was working until 15 minutes before we started, went down. Even a phone call was not possible for several hours. Nevertheless, they sent a fax with their vision of the computer as a tool for democracy, which did influence the final ICATA declaration (see Appendix 3). As Professor Hamelink remarked in a fax sent to us as a response to this malfunctioning "do not try to make things work with 'inappropriate technology'' (Organizational Folder 1989).
In every session where we opened other networks, people kept on participating. While debates took place, people from the edit group would try to type as fast as they could, to make interaction possible. In many debates questions were raised via the network. This was made possible by the reporting of the edit group In those days, there was no live audio and video over the net. Only words were exchanged and often these words came from people we did not know and did not even know anything about. The Wellington people had contacted us before the GHP, after they had read some of the announcements that were made via the net. But we had no details about them.
To communicate with people who one does not know seemed to be no problem at the GHP. Hackers happily exchange information; they share with strangers as long as they are able to assume that the other person also follows the 'hacker ethic' when exploring systems. Though as became clear in the Wau-Pengo debate, which will be addressed later, even the hacker ethic can give rise to deep confusion (Riemens 1989). When communicating with people we do not know via mediated presence we seem to attribute qualities and context to them based on the perception and understanding of our own context. When we know for example they are hackers, or when we know they are from a certain country, we expect certain things from them that are determined by our own hacker ethic and our own image of a particular country. There often appeared to be a preconception about what kind of questions they could expect from each other before people communicated, and of course several times people in Paradiso were surprised by the questions they received. For example, the Russians, who were communicating via the San Francisco Moscow Teleport, asked questions about object oriented programming, 3D graphics and medical applications. But Amsterdam answered with more political questions like whether the Russians considered themselves part of the 'global village' (Gonggrijp 1989, 22). In chapter 2, I discussed the concepts of attribution and the development of media schemata that facilitate the acceptance of mediated presence in day-to-day social interaction processes. The process of attribution seemed to take place even before media schemata had been developed at the GHP.
Even though there were regular flaws in understanding one another, and some of the highlights were involved in overcoming this, there were also moments when the communication via the network really contributed to the discussions in Paradiso. For example, in the Wau-Pengo debate about the ethical responsibility of a hacker, which I shall discuss later, Wellington asked about the responsibility of systems operators at just the right moment. To orchestrate natural presence and mediated presence (which are both witnessed) in one performance in which the design of time is crucial, is quite a challenge as will be discussed later in the section about social interface.