Censorship and moderation

Chris, London 100423.2040 at compuserve.com
Sun Feb 18 11:15:52 MST 1996

I was relieved to read what Jerry would positively like
for this l*st. It reduces my tendency to experience the
exchanges as some sort of personal persecution, and I
think has the opportunity to move the debate forward,
whatever acrimony may linger.

<< If WE, i.e. the l*st, censored someone's posts, that would be
DIFFERENT from asking (especially in the current political context) the
NET PROVIDER (i.e. Postmaster) to censor someone.>>

My position is clear that I would like this l*st to be in the
introductory words,

<< something of an
electronic community, which is self-governing and self-policing.>>

Drawing attention to the risk of debate spilling over into
conflict in the physical world, the courts or the police, is
to aid that process. We have I would guess some wide measure of
agreement that we want to contain things ourselves.

I do not feel I understand the culture and conventions of
the internet fully but it is said itself to be a remarkably
self regulating community, although this is now being
threatened by privatisation. Advertising was driven out
by the community taking action into their own hands.
I assumed Kevin's remark was a warning of such a possibility.

Postmasters are part of the academic world and surely part of
that community. I suppose on reflection it becomes
more problematic if Elsequin is sending in obscentities
from AOL, which I understand is a commercial organisation.

In the future of this l*st I have perhaps got stuck in the role
of the optimist, Jerry polarised in the role of the pessimist.

What we need instead is a debate about its potentialities, and
how to minimise its weaknesses.

A key area is not just censorship but also newcomers, who burst in
without any knowledge of our happy little electronic community.

Each newcomer is a challenge: a welcome visitor, a symbiont, a
commensual, or a destructive virus. Time tells.

Pesach/Rekkia RMAXX MIM New Flag.

I had thought that the sheer volume of the l*st makes it pretty
impenetrible now to hostile visitors, but on the other hand the speed
of arrivals may increase so much that they could change the whole experience
of the l*st.

Another threat pointed out by Ken is that such l*st become dominated
by those who can contribute several hours a day.

I think one effect of these difficulties is that the l*st will spawn off
interest in a whole series of related marxist internet facilities some
operating on different lines. But for the moment I think we gain
greatly from Spoons clear anti-censorship policy. We did successfully
persuade Elsequin to stop. We have found a way of putting the Peru
polemic in a slightly more orderly framework. We may still be able
to debate Stalinism.

I frankly did not get any support when I posted previously calling for a wide
panel of moderators coming from differing backgrounds to keep in touch
essentially to give extra facilitation to the process, but in essence
I think there is still milage in Spoons policy of no censorship
on this l*st and their call -

Ordinary respect and courtesy towards other list members is expected,
and flame wars are, of course, discouraged.  Recognizing, however, that
disputation is the norm in politics, threads will not be interrupted
simply becaue the tone grows heated, as it sometimes does.  Yet openness
and toleration of difference are to be valued above dogmatism (of
whatever stripe).  It is up to each of us to see to it that bad
temperedness or insensitivity does not become a problem.

Each list member is asked to help make the list work by being an active
participant--posting when you have something to contribute and letting
the rest of the list know when something happens on the list that concerns
you and that you would like the rest of the list to consider.

I think members have very much done that, and overall it is very


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