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Re: [ga] Proposal for mailing list policy

There is much I agree with in Karl's post, but these especially (plus two

On Wed, 12 Jan 2000, Karl Auerbach wrote:

> There is no reason to limit the GA to people who "have a knowledge"
> the "issues pertaining to the areas".  There are many who don't yet
> understand the issues but who know that they are impacted by the
> outcome.

The last thing the GA needs is non-inclusiveness.

> I don't agree with that.  I do believe that those who wish to do so should
> be able to participate anonymously using some handle.  But the list of
> names & handles should be available to all.

The only difficulty I see here is how to handle votes.  Discussions can be
by anonymous entities, indeed this is probably a constitutional right in
the US (and while the US constitution is not applicable to a private body,
it would be sad to be consciously constructing a body intended to be
*less* supportive of basic human rights than the US government).  On the
other hand, votes need to be tied to bodies to prevent ballot-stuffing.

> I don't agree with the entire "Sergeant-at-arms" concept.  If there is
> someone who is to be sanctioned, then that should be the decision of
> the entire GA, made openly and on a clearly stated question.

So long as the Sergeant at arms announces decisions in real time, and has
written procedures to go by, and can be removed for misbehavior, by the GA
as a whole, I think this may be tolerable if there is an official and
complete archive of the uncensored list (see below).

> > -------------------------
> > There exists an open list that can be subscribed to: ga-unfiltered@dnso.org.

I am not comfortable with the idea that the official record is censored.
The official record includes all the crazies.  That's life.  If a nut
submits something to a government department they don't get to throw it
away; they file it.  Plus without an archive, forming an opinion about
past censorship becomes nearly impossible.

> The official list of the GA must be totally uncensored.

> Sensitive groups can establish their own e-mail exploders that filter out 
> those they don't want to hear.  But those are not "official" lists.

I don't mind there being an official censored list, but only so long as
there's an official uncensored one too.  

> > It will not be archved on the DNSO site; others may choose to
> archive it if they feel like it.

This is probably the most disturbing suggestion.  It feels like a "memory
hole".  There must be an official archive of the uncensored list in order
for people to be able to assure themselves that the censors are behaving
in the desired manner.  Otherwise they must take it on faith.  

> Since the uncensored list must be the official list, it must be
> archived in total.

This is, I repeat, essential.

> > The existence of this list will make it possible to have independent
> > verification of what the filtering function does.
> No "independent verification" is possible unless the list is fully and
> completely archived.

Yes, I too am unclear on how one could -- after the fact, when one is told
of an allegation of political manipulation two weeks ago -- verify its
truth or falsity if there is not an official record of the uncensored
list.  And one needs that ability.


A. Michael Froomkin   |    Professor of Law    |   froomkin@law.tm
U. Miami School of Law, P.O. Box 248087, Coral Gables, FL 33124 USA
+1 (305) 284-4285  |  +1 (305) 284-6506 (fax)  |  http://www.law.tm
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