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Re: Missing Brigade (2)
While I agree with Charles that civility is an issue for participation
on a list, I would add another issue -- the value of the content.
I subscribe to some flame fest lists despite the flames, if there are
sufficient insights offered on the list.
The important issues in the MS case concern information about current
conduct and technology, and critical discussion about various remedies.
Any list with real information on these topics is interesting, to me a
I would also point out that it isn't hard for anyone to set up their
own list. For example, anyone can buy an AOL or POP3 email account,
which can be used as a list address. Off the shelf (free) software can
forward list mail to a list (netscape mail, eudora, AOL, Pine and many
other software mail programs do this). My wife does this for a small
list on distance education.
charles mueller wrote:
> In my musing last evening on how a discussion list might go at
> attracting the most knowledgeable people in its field--in antimonopoly
> policy, the very senior economic scholars who've written the textbooks for
> the past 4 or 5 decades, conducted the leading empirical studies of
> real-world monopolies, and so on--I was about to start my 3rd suggestion,
> got distracted, and then later inadvertently hit 'send' while posting a
> dozen or so other messages. Here is the completed version of my suggestions
> for making a list attractive to these distinguished people:
> 1. No name-calling, ad hominem attacks, or discourteous, uncivil,
> disrespectful or offensive posts.
> 2. The list owner will himself, or through a designate, provide an
> E-mail address for the lodging of complaints under (1), above, either by
> the person offended or by any other member of the list.
> 3. Upon receipt of such a complaint, the offender will be invited
> to submit to the group, and to the person offended, an on-line apology
> which has been accepted by the latter. Should the offender decline to do
> so, he will be forthwith removed from the list of members.
> This morning I joined another antitrust discussion list, one
> administered by the American Bar Association (ABA). Its policy guidelines
> include the following:
> 'This list is a privilege and personal attacks and profanity will
> not be tolerated. If you feel that this privilege is being abused by
> a subscriber, it is your right and your RESPONSIBILITY to email
> to firstname.lastname@example.org and report this.'
> This covers my points (1) and (2). And it would hardly be
> surprising if, in their application, this group of lawyers doesn't also
> employ my principle (3), namely, requiring an apology (made publicly,
> on-list) that is sufficient to satisfy the person who has been offended.
> The latter point, in my view, is vital--the list is going to lose that
> offended senior scholar if HE is left with a sense of justice not fully and
> fairly done. It is his perception of the matter that is vital to keeping
> him, which of course means that there must not just be an apology by the
> offender but that it must be of a kind and character that fully satisifes
> the victim, that is generous enough to persuade him to say, 'apology
> Attracting the most knowledgeable people to Net discussion groups is
> obviously the linchpin in their ability to contribute to the solution of the
> world's harder policy problems. So far, none of the lists I've been on have
> spelled out such a consistent, coherent policy--or have attracted the full
> roster of the best in their respective fields. 'List policy' is, I believe,
> a key factor in making a real-world difference. I hope we'll hear from
> other members who have some thoughts here.
> Charles Mueller, Editor
> ANTITRUST LAW & ECONOMICS REVIEW
James Packard Love
Consumer Project on Technology
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