Re: [ga] "Moderating" the GA list.
Ellen Rony wrote:
> 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.
There are lots of other problems with moderation.
The moderator must at least glance at every message. This introduces
delay, especially if messages turn up at an odd hour for the moderator's
time zone, or on weekends. He or she may not see them for hours or days,
and they aren't resent until they're seen and approved.
When the moderator takes a week off, or is unavailable for some other
reason, the list hangs. What if the moderator is at an ICANN meeting?
That might be one of the most important times for list input, or for
reports from the meeting, but would the moderator have email access
and enough free time for moderation?
In any case, moderation entails a huge amount of work.
> 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.
Also, most mail clients support some form of filtering. It is trivially
easy to reject anything from a known idiot poster.
> Obvious spam is a separate issue. ...
There are a number of things that can be done in software. The big
questions about each of them is whether it's a good idea. Once we
decide that, worry about whether they're good enough to be worth
the trouble, and who is going to do the work.
Restrict posts to subscribers only. This eliminates most spam.
( A complication is that you should allow no-mail subscriptions.
I read the list from this account, but I want to be able to
forward messages here from another account; I may not be on
this machine when I notice something interesting. The only
way I can do that on a subscriber-only list is to subscribe
the other account, but I need to be able to turn off list
mail to it. Others may want to read the list via the archives
but still be able to post.)
Enforce the 5 posts a day limit. I consider that limit silly,
but if we must have it, then doing it in software is the
only reasonable enforcement mechanism.
No HTML or, worse, .doc files. Perhaps even nothing but ASCII text,
though I'm not sure if that would trouble people from various
Any of these are technically straightforward if we can agree
they're worth doing, someone wants to do the work, and the
list admins agree.
I'd say subscriber-only and no weird formats are obviously
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