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[ga] Kent's post illustrates Ellen's point

While I had hoped we would work out the voting procedure before addressing
the merits of specific proposals for rules, I must take advantage of a recent
exchange to illustrate my own strongly held views on a particular matter.

Please understand that I do NOT intend ANY criticism of Kent's post by the
following reference, but merely use it to demonstrate the problem inherent in
subjective criteria for sanctioning speech on a public list.

On January 18th, Ellen Rony wrote regarding what were to become the interim

     Third, the Rights to Post are subjective as to content, cumbersome
     vague;  they place sole discretion in the hands of a Sergeants at
     Arms, who
     may a) unilaterally impose posting limits; b) determine what
     decorum and relevant business of the GA, and c) moderate content.
     rights do not describe an "open forum".

On February 7th, the List Monitor took the following action:

     The list rules say that:

     - The messages must be relevant to the business of the GA
     - The messages must observe a minimum of decorum, including:
        - Not indulging in personal attacks, insults or slander
        - Not using offensive language

     This message does not observe a minimum of decorum, is a personal
     and uses offensive language.

     Therefore, I declare that the person known to the list as "Jeff
     <jwkckid1@ix.netcom.com>" has had his posting privillege to the GA
     revoked for 2 weeks, starting today, February 7, 2000, and lasting
     not later than Monday, February 21, 2000, 12:00 GMT.


                                Harald T. Alvestrand
                                    List monitor

     ------------ The main text of the offending message -----------

     >Unfortunately, and sadly I am sure the Roberto, Harald, Kent, and
     >William Walsh "The Four Horse-Shitters" are glad to see them
     >go. The major interest of Roberto and Harald especially is new
     >members (Sheep) to fertilize with their Horse Shit...

On February 11th, Kent Crispin wrote:

> If a substantial percentage of the subscribers had sent email supporting
> your position, things would be different.  But they didn't.  We got down
> to a grim, mostly silent majority waiting for the grandstanding martyrs
> to finish their speeches.  Some people will fight to the death for their
> right to urinate on the barroom floor...

Sanctioning the form of speech (i.e. how people choose to express their
points) is a slippery slope with no easy landing.  It is very difficult to
explain why Mr. Williams post required sanction while Mr. Crispin's did not.
I oppose sanctions for either.  Subjective evaluation of style is unnecessary
and has a chilling effect.  And, I would not embroil this list in endless
arguments regarding which side of what lines particular posts fall.

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