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PICList Thread
'[POLICY] What if? Thoughts and a suggestion'
1999\03\25@113608 by Bob Drzyzgula

(skip the following paragraph if you just want to see
the suggestion).

OK, here's my opinion: I get hundreds of messges per day,
from several mailing lists, and generally am able to
manage. My own eyes are the only filters that I trust. I
resent the way-OT stuff (religion, politics, personalities,
etc.) more for the amount of whining that comes in its wake
than I do for the content. When I see a thread going bad,
I just stay away for a while; with hundreds of messages
coming in I can't possibly read all of them, I have to
pick and chose. So I just don't choose to read followups in
threads that I didn't like on first sampling. Occasionally,
I'll notice that a thread has lasted longer than I would
have expected, and I'll go in to check what is going
on. As often as not I find that the thread has taken an
interesting bent and I'll then follow it back to get the
rest of it. I generally don't delete anything on purpose
-- not even spam. I have hundreds of thousands of messages
going back ten years, many compressed and stored offline. I
find this a tremendous resource.

So here's a suggestion as to how to deal with this "problem".

1. Create a new address called "piclist-abuse". This
address would forward to Jory & Mark and a small additional
group if appropriate. Then, the piclist policy should be that
*all* complaints about threads should go to that list.
As I said, I resent the high complaint traffic more than
I do the inappropriate traffic.

2. No policy can ever be effective if there is no cost
associated with violation of that policy. I would suggest
that a system of "rules", "notices" and "fines" be devised and
published in a piclist FAQ. As an example, not a specific
proposal, consider:

* If anyone is offended by a post, it is OK to
  let the poster know, through private email
  copied to the piclist-abuse address. Including
  the piclist FAQ in such a message is encouraged.
  Such messages should not be copied to the list.

* If Jory and Mark agree that there is a problem with
  a post, a poster, or a thread, then they can
  send notice to the parties involved requesting that
  they desist. In some cases (as in a religious debate),
  it may be appropriate for a message to be sent to PICLIST
  declaring a thread closed. Except in some specific
  cases (religion, politics, warez, spam) Jory and
  Mark should generally not be doing this except with
  a clear mandate coming off the piclist-abuse list.

* Ignoring these requests from Jory or Mark can result
  in a suspension of posting rights for a week or more,
  depending. (Like the third time someone advertises
  warez on the list maybe it would be a month.)
  A notice should be sent to the list any time this
  is done.

* Discussions of policy such as this one shuld be
  marked [POLICY] in the subject header, not [OT].
  The intent and tone of such messages should be
  for the discussion of whether something should
  be allowed, not whether someone did something

* If you feel you absolutely must post a complaint
  to the piclist, it should be marked [COMPLAINT]
  so that it is clearly marked as not following the
  topic of the post. Again, any complaints to
  the list would be strongly discouraged -- they
  should be sent to the piclist-abuse list instead.

I think that a system such as this might help to keep
things somewhat more controlled, would attach as much of
a stigma to complaining on the list as any other sort of
inappropriate traffic, but still provide for the off-topic
but still technical discussion that many of us cherish.

On Thu, Mar 25, 1999 at 10:57:02AM -0300, Andres Tarzia wrote:
> I agree. You can't force people to write to the other list.
> Worse, users will start flaming other users because of OT's in this list.
> Anyway there is a very very thin line separating off-topic from on-topic
> messages.

Bob Drzyzgula                             It's not a problem                until something bad happens

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