Creativity on the Internet

A history of the misc.creativity newsgroup and the Creativity Web Pages

by Paul Rousseau and Charles Cave


Paul Rousseau writes:-

In the winter of 1993, I had been on the "Net" for about 5 months spending most of my time reading and responding to USENET news postings, and getting a feel for what the Internet had to offer.

I have a strong interest in creativity and began to seek out relevant Internet based resources. I quickly realized that apart from the CREA-CPS mailing list, there weren't any other resources. Suspecting there were many Internet users with a strong interest in creativity, I began thinking about ways to get in touch with these people.

Following extensive searches of USENET, I discovered there weren't any newsgroups specific to the creative process, so I quickly learned the process of creating a new newsgroup. In the spring of 1993, I proposed an RFD (Request for Discussion) to create a group called sci.creativity, and was told very quickly that creativity was not a science! Other responses were more helpful and alternative suggestions included talk.creativity or soc.creativity.

About 8 months later, I tried again with a proposal for misc.creativity. Following a rapid cycle of editorial changes in the charter for the group, the matter was put to the vote and won with a clear majority of with 341 positive votes against 40 negative votes. The first message was sent to the misc.creativity newsgroup by Henry Robertson ( at 12:52:08 April 14, 1994.

The first few months of the newsgroup were very exciting as dozens of people discovered the newsgroup and initiated discussions centered on other resources on the Internet, including conferences, books, software and training resources. I wanted to write an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for misc.creativity and posted a message asking for assistance. My first task was to edit a set of questions from the dozens of questions posted to the group. Another message followed, asking for people to write answers to the questions and send them back for editing.

After getting a quick and generous response, I decided that the FAQ would be built in three parts and I made a request for two editors to organize the remaining two sections, while I retained the first section on resources. Linda H. Schiffer ( and Charles Cave ( volunteered to build and edit Parts 2 and 3 of the FAQ.

The first version of the FAQ was published in August of 1994, was updated a number of times and re-posted on a monthly basis. In the meantime, Charles had developed an interest in the World Wide Web and suggested the idea of a Creativity Web Page. I welcomed the idea since there was so much more that could be done to enhance the "look" of the FAQ as a Web document.

The misc.creativity newsgroup continues to carry news, and serves as a connecting point and meeting place for people interested in creativity. On any given day, people from all over the world post and respond to messages as well as discovering the Creativity web page through misc.creativity. Most importantly is the fact that USENET news is available to many more people than the World Wide Web, so misc.creativity continues to be the low cost way of joining the creativity community on the Internet.

Charles Cave writes:-

The World Wide Web breathed new life into the three plain text FAQ documents, as the Web allowed text to have style (bold, italics and different font sizes) as well as images (photographs, diagrams, graphics and computer screen shots), and most importantly, hypertext links.

The booklist has become the Virtual Creativity Book Shop where the list of book titles contains hypertext links to authors (e.g, Edward de Bono), and book details and reviews. Details of over 170 books, and 10 detailed author profiles are available.

The software section has expanded to include screen shots of the products, together with marketing materials, product reviews, magazine articles and links to Web Sites. By providing comprehensive information about software for creativity and idea generation, potential buyers can gain useful information on a product's capabilities. These pages can help software developers sell their products in the global market.

Other popular sections of the web site include a directory of people and organisations involved in creativity training, consulting and certification; a "What's New" page,

and a list of links to related Web sites. In early October of this year, the site was awarded a "Top 5% Web Site" badge by Point Communications (

The Creativity Web Page and misc.creativity newsgroup are resources that can help you in your creativity endeavours. Come and visit, post an article or contribute some material.

Paul Rousseau
Charles Cave

Last updated: 27th April 1999