I know the person who came up with TCS; Sarah Fitz-Claridge – and her friend David Deutsch (the quantum computing guy). They were members of an online discussion group I created about children’s rights called Y-Rights and I ran from 1991-1995 – I passed it on to other people who ran it until 2002 I think.
They were very wordy libertarian types; I was 19 years old or so and I had a policy on the group of striving to talk in language that most people could understand, because there was a range of ages on the group from a middle school classroom on up to older people and I wanted everybody to feel they could at least try to understand each other.
It was silly of me in retrospect but it made sense to me at the time.
No matter how many times and ways I asked though, Sara Fitz-Claridge and David Deutsche would be having these back and forth conversations using what I called “high minded language” about children’s rights – and it was turning off some of the other members.
This was pre-www – they didn’t have browsers yet – it was all in e-mail and there were sometimes quotas on how many messages you could get, etc.
They’d argue with me over it; and finally I got to a point where I asked them to leave the group but promised I would set them up with their OWN mailing list before they left.
I couldn’t find the same system I’d been using (LISTSERV, graciously lend by a nice guy in another university I never went to) but I _did_ find a majordomo mailing list which I learned, then taught them how to use (all through email), and finally when they had tcs set up, they voluntarily left Y-RIGHTS and build their own group called “Taking Children Seriously” from there around 1994.
Oh there’s a name for that! yes, “Accessible language”. I felt – and feel strongly about that but didn’t know it had a name.
Yes – I had a very generic focus to Y-RIGHTS; there are so many aspects to children’s rights that I didn’t have anything specific but I wanted to create a space to bring people together – and I could with the power of mailing lists online – but whenever someone was TOO focused, I’d encourage them to branch off in their own group/list; TCS was one of those; another was the two people mostly focused on drinking ages and voting ages but were too political for my liking – so I did the same with them (getting them set up) and they founded NYRA (National Youth Rights Association), which still exists and works on some legal issues for Youth Rights and another group called AS-FAR I think, which I think went in a bad direction – not sure.
In an old post Sarah-Fitz Claridge made a few years ago, she describes the history of TCS — I’m the bad guy in her story; but that’s ok;
She came to visit me once in New Jersey with her two kids.
My mother wasn’t happy about this strange lady with her two kids coming from England to visit without me warning; but she was going around visiting various internet friends from Canada and the USA.
She only stayed a day; her kids wanted cornflakes with ketchup and were a bit noisy; it was an interesting visit.
I believed then and now the internet has the most power for freedoms for kids; and it has. GenZ being wholly online moreso than any other in the past has been an amazing thing to witness;
Far from perfect – lots of issues; but they’re really creating new realities, for better and worse, using whatever bizarre tools we leave around for them to use (TikTok, Roblox, Minecraft, XBox, Discord, Twitter – whatever they find, they use)
Oh, no – I tracked down what happened to it. It appears the computer room that was housing it and other mailing lists caught fire in 2002 and there was no backups, so that was that. I wasn’t involved with it anymore by then; I passed it on in 1996 to a professor in Australia and a 14 year old girl named Alex in Alaska who was home-schooled and super-smart. The two of them were a good team to run the group and they did. I left about a year after when I saw it was a good choice