[Fwd: Re: [EM] Completed comments on Abd's posting]

Abd ulRahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Sun Jun 26 20:08:23 PDT 2005

At 10:54 AM 6/26/2005, Bill Clark wrote:
>Agreed.  Mail filters work great for excluding posts by particular
>individuals, but the problem is that other people then reply to such
>posts (even though there seems to be an epidemic of "I'm not going to
>reply to so-and-so anymore" and then replying anyway).

Hmmm.... I hadn't noticed that, but then again I don't read everything. I 
did write something myself which could easily have been remembered that 
way, but it isn't what I actually intended nor what I wrote. I just 
checked, and this was true, for I wrote:

>I intend to set a filter for [name deleted], I'd rather not expose myself 
>routinely to the temptation to comment again on his writing, I don't 
>really have the time to spare. But not immediately. I'll read whatever he 
>writes in response, if anything. Maybe I'll be surprised.

As it happened, I *was* surprised. I'm still abstaining from comment in 
general, but I *did* respond to one surprising piece of substance. At the 
moment, I see no need to set the filter, but if I find myself tempted to 
respond to off-topic material, I'll probably set the filter.

This, right here, is not entirely off-topic. Most lists do consider "list 
business" to be on-topic. Some don't. My experience with lists that don't 
has not been good, for when an active list moderator is oppressive in one 
way, the moderator is often likewise oppressive in other ways. My own 
opinion is that a process should be established whereby list rules or 
judgements as to violations of the rules can become a matter of general 
agreement. The ultimate "penalty" for rule violation shouldn't be banning, 
it should be being put on moderation. And, if it is at all possible, the 
moderator should be chosen by the "offender."

This, of course, is how FA/DP might work.

As with the chair of any meeting under Robert's Rules, an active moderator 
can and should make decisions for the welfare of the list; if the list is 
owned by the moderator, both legally and equitably, that's that. If, 
however, the list is owned by the moderator, or the moderator is or 
moderators are appointed by the owner, but the owner is a trustee for the 
association (informal in this case), then moderator decisions should be 
subject to appeal.

I do have many ideas as to how this could function right here, but I'll 
stop now with a simple question. I could find the legal owner of the list 
with a whois search: it's Rob Lanphier. But the equitable owner, I don't 
see anywhere, it looks like it has not been made explicit. That is not at 
all surprising, it happens all the time. It is common for someone to 
establish a list or wiki to serve a relatively diffuse community, and they 
just do it, and they don't rule it with a heavy hand. Who is the equitable 
owner? To put it another way, how does the legal list owner see his role?

Mr. Clark continued:

>For example, a few of the more outlandish political claims made in
>some recent posts have finally convinced me to put some filters of my
>own in place.  If others did the same -- in particular those folks who
>have claimed they don't want to reply to certain people -- then I
>suspect the amount of off-topic traffic would die down considerably.

Perhaps. However, that isn't clear. It might or it might not. All it takes 
is two stubborn people, and no external restraints. Sometimes even just one 

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