For my book “Access Granted – Tomorrow’s Business Ethics” I used Babylon 5 and its different civilizations to explain why a global organization requires a modular approach to ensure a culture fit of the Compliance program.

Besides this, B5 always had been a good example for interaction. Right from the beginning, fans started to document the different episodes in the internet. At the end of the 1990s, the web was a different place, as there was still no general access and most of the users had been students and other university personnel. In the Pre-Facebook-area, users interchanged experience in relativity closed online communities. A “Lurker” had been a passive user of such a community, who reads the different posts, but not actively posts. With this he or she had been in opposite to today’s “Trolls”, who use their anonymity to tell everybody in today’s social platform their opinion, mostly as comment to original posts.

B5-fans collected their information on a website, the “Lurker’s Guide”. Babylon 5-producer J. Michael Stracynski not only followed this information, but he was known to communicate with the fans in the different communities. He even included the name Lurkers later in the second season of the series, as it became the name for the people, who lived on the lower levels of stations and due to their low social levels not participated in the official life of the space station. With this the passive internet users became an active part of the TV phenomenon.

A lesson for Compliance? Yes, indeed! Training, workshops and dialogues can raise interest. This not only with extrovert, but also with introvert employees. Maybe they will not actively participate at the original event, but send later an email. The Compliance Officer can keep all discussions alive, independent, if they started in the in-person-meeting or with email. Why not create a special online-group or involve them as champions?

Today, the Lurker’s Guide received its last update in 1998, but still is online, not only as the documentation of a TV-series, but also as a trip into the past of the World Wide Web.