[EM] problematic participants

Abd ulRahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Thu May 12 20:15:08 PDT 2005

At 12:02 PM 5/12/2005, Andrew Myers wrote:
>I have another suggestion: ostracism.

There are a wide range of options. "Ostracism" takes many forms. The most 
harmless is that other members of the list set filters so they don't have 
to see the mail, or just skip it. But a raging flame war can harm the list 
in quite a few ways, not the least of which is the effect upon new members; 
were I a moderator with the requisite authority, there are probably several 
people I'd immediately put on moderation. Moderation is not ostracism, and 
it is not a punishment. It is harmless, so one can moderate first and ask 
questions later, and one can unmoderate. After all, moderating posts is a 
nuisance. It is not necessary to determine who "started it."

Were this an FA/DP organization, the moderator would be chosen by the 
allegedly offending member from among the qualified members. (By default, 
any member could be a moderator for this purpose, but a moderator who 
approves inappropriate posts could lose moderation privileges.) That kind 
of filtering is actually one of the functions of the proxy, protecting the 
larger group from noise from below, just as the proxy also protects the 
member from excess traffic from above.

>This being an election methods mailing list, I'm sure that someone can design
>an appropriate mechanism for the community to decide whether and to whom 
>should be applied.

Exactly. Simply discussing the matter will sometimes suffice, but it is a 
more general solution to create a decision-making apparatus. I'm proposing 
Free Association/Delegable Proxy concepts for this, but simple polls could 
work. A poll is not a vote. Rather, a poll is a means of measuring 
consensus. If any member of the list is allowed to create a poll question, 
and all members may answer it, then the problem of how the question is 
worded is actually avoided, because if any member thinks that the answer 
has been biased by the question, the member can reword it.

If, however, the number of polls becomes an onerous burden, delegable proxy 
would be a means of keeping the fully open process while reducing the 

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