[LINK] Moderator Censorship

rene rene.ln at libertus.net
Sun Mar 27 18:19:18 AEDT 2011

On Sun, 27 Mar 2011 17:21:12 +1100, Ivan Trundle wrote:

> On 27/03/2011, at 5:08 PM, rene wrote:
>> Since when have Link list maintainers been regarded as list owners?
>> (refer to Tony Barry's initial message saying he wanted to hand
>> list maintenance to others).
> Irene - I can understand your indignation - but you are
> misinterpreting the language used by Mailman.

No, I wasn't, but to the extent that it can (I don't doubt) be perceived 
that I was, my opinion that the Link List charter needs to be changed - to 
make clear to subscribers what they can expect - remains...

> Link runs using Mailman software: those who administrate the lists
> have ultimate control over all list parameters. Martin, Robin and I
> are 'list owners' in the lexicon of Mailman. 

I'm well aware of Mailman's 'lexicon', having been the so-called 'owner', 
in that context, of about 5 Mailman lists for about 6 years. 

In referring to 'owner' I also referred in that context to a post by Tony 
Barry - I was referring to his statement on 19 Jan 2011 that:

	"I have never thought that I "owned" link or that in any way I should 
direct the membership or particular members of it even the most fractious. 
I tried to see myself as a servant of the list rather its owner (I had been 
a public servant for 15 years!). As a consequence I would let discussion 
range widely for a while rather than jumping in immediately with "off 
topic" messages. Similarly I didn't cut heated discussions off abruptly 
reasoning that I could inflame things more by so doing. I tried to curb 
them by polite off-list messages. And I NEVER blocked anybody. Whatever 
style my successor takes is up to them but for the last few years link has 
been almost genteel!"

(NB: There is very recent evidence that an autocratic style does indeed 
inflame things even more, quelle supris!).

My fundamental point was/is that the 3 new list maintainers have not told 
the list subscribers that the style has changed, and given it evidently 
has, without prior notice, then imo the list charter page should be 
changed. Not only for the info of existing subscribers but because anyone 
intending to subscribe to the list cannot be expected to have knowledge of 
the "lexicon of Mailman", and typically people who read the List charter 
page would expect "unmoderated" to mean what it does in everyday language.

It is, in my opinion, entirely improper, to have a list subscription page 
that says the list is unmoderated and then have so-called list owners 
posting "Moderation Notes" to the list which have the blatant intention of 
chilling speech on the list. 

Imo the page should be changed to say something like: "While the list is 
unmoderated in terms of who can subscribe to it, be warned that the list 
has moderators who may publicly rebuke, reprimand or censure posters if 
posters say something the moderator/s don't like."

(NB: Please don't respond telling me that the partiuclar text on the 
Mailman page is auto produced by Mailman and can't be changed. While 
typically it is auto produced, it can be changed.)

>> In addition, the Link list charter states:
>> This list "is open and unmoderated".
>> http://mailman.anu.edu.au/mailman/listinfo/link
> And indeed it is. There is no evidence that this has changed, and nor
> is it the wish of the list owners to make this change. I see no
> reason to rewrite anything, nor do I wish to provoke further needless
> discussion about the subject of moderation.

If owners/moderators do not want so-called "needless discussion about the 
subject of moderation" then I strongly suggest that:
a) in future none of them post any "moderation" message at all, let alone 
of the type RW has posted recently; and
b) they get together and sort out a set of "moderation" rules and tell list 
subscribers, current and potential, what the new rules are. 

If (b) is not done, then "moderators" will just have to put up with 
potentially even more robust discussion about moderation, that may in their 
opinion be needless, but almost certainly won't be in the opinon of the 
some subscribers. (This one in particular is currently really, really, 
biting her tongue).


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