Re: [ga] "Moderating" the GA list.
The ICANN blueprint for reform leaves much to be desired. It's
disappointing that its authors want to limit the role of the GNSO-GA and
even detail how its mailing list should be administered.
"To encourage informed discussion free from personal attacks and
undue disruption, the GNSO GA shall only support moderated electronic
discussion lists and forums (in which all interested individuals and groups
can participate). Those interested in participating in unmoderated lists
can do so in other fora, not under the auspices of the GNSO GA."
Moderation that inhibits crossposting and adhominem attacks is useful. A
mailing list may be moderated in other ways to reduce disruption without
establishing a gatekeeper who makes judgment calls. However, an approach,
as described below, to decide what messages are considered "off topic" or
"idle chatting" begins the slippery slope toward censorship and provides
too much opportunity for bad judgment and abuse.
Most readers of the list are astute enough to recognize blather, those
messages wholly devoid of information or insightful comment. We soon start
deleting messages from the source of the noise, unread, and learn to resist
any temptation to respond in kind.
Obvious spam is a separate issue. Perhaps the way to reduce unwanted
and/or unreadable messages touting goods and sevices completely unrelated
to the GA discussion is to add one objective criterion to the rules:
no commercial messages
Yeah, I can think of two immediate exceptions: announcements of
topic-related meetings and summaries of dns-related books. But removing
unsolicited commercial promotions for, say, refurbished computers (the most
recent GA spam) is less likely to stir complaints of censorship than a
determination that one poster or another is engaging in idle chatting on GA.
- Ellen Rony
At 2:51 PM +0200 6/23/02, Thomas Roessler wrote:
>Any "moderation" of the GA list will have to meet some basic
>requirements, besides improving readability and reducing noise.
>In particular, every posting sent to a General Assembly mailing list
>MUST be available to the public. That's what we currently achieve
>by having ga-full on the one hand and the monitored GA list on the
>other. The effect of this kind of transparency is this: While undue
>censorship becomes provable, unproven assertions of such censorship
>Also, it MUST be possible for members of the GA to get quick access
>to postings. This may be considered solved by having a ga-full list
>on the one hand, and a moderated main GA list on the other - but I
>believe that we can do better.
>A possible improved approach would be to make a traditionally
>moderated version of the list available IN ADDITION to what we have,
>and look if people would actually accept it. One of the problems
>with this approach is that it adds considerably to the complexity of
>the whole GA thing - possibly beyond the point where it's still
>reasonable. Also, it would duplicate some of the list monitoring
>efforts we already have.
>The interesting question is, of course, what the list coming out of
>this would look like. I've made an experiment and taken the GA
>traffic from weeks 22 and 23 of this year (the first two weeks of
>June). I have then deleted the things I'd probably have rejected as
>far as a moderated list is concerned (and, of course, all the things
>I'd have just ignored for a summary). The result is available in
>web archive form at
>When I did this, I noticed that there were some list members whose
>postings (and even threads they started) I collectively deleted.
>With some other list members, I frequently deleted postings because
>they were off-topic or idle chatting. Finally, there were many
>members of the list whose postings I collectively approved.
>Thus, a very similar result could have been obtained by making the
>list unmoderated by default, but turning on moderation for a couple
>If you want to put it like this, this would mean that list
>monitoring would intervene much more quickly, and, for instance,
>"block" people for mere off-topic posting. This "blocking" would,
>however, be soft (as opposed to what we currently do): It wouldn't
>imply that messages don't go to the list at all, it would only mean
>that the individuals in question would be subject to some kind
>"adult supervision" - after having proven that they can't do
>Actually, I'd like to give this approach a try immediately after
>Bucharest - it's not clear to me that it will actually work as
>intended, in particular given the fact that the approach will
>probably require frequent changes to list filter definitions, and
>will have to withstand the usual attempts to game the system by
>Thomas Roessler http://log.does-not-exist.org/
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ellen Rony // http://www.domainhandbook.com
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