Criteria for banning from...and defining...lists

Les Schaffer schaffer at
Mon Aug 11 07:56:43 MDT 2003

Mark Lause:

> We need norms that structure discussion without stifling it.  Among
> other things, such norms would involve some sort of group
> recognition and sanctions against repeatedly personalizing the
> debate.

excellent post Mark.

My belief, which i've talked over with Lou a long time ago and he was
not convinced to implement, is that in these long discussions which
grow "hot", a relatively neutral moderator ought to be elected by the
group specifically for that debate, and that moderator would ask
debate participants to stick to guidelines for discussion like:

  answer your opponents question in email dated XXX

  repeated arguments, move on.

  personal rather than political, move on

  asked and answered, move on

and so forth.

i often find i only benefit from these hot discussions when someone is
kind enough to step forward and encapsulate the arguments of both
sides of the debate, putting them into perspective. in some cases this
is enough of a synthesis to move my own thinking forward. certainly
dialectical if nothing else.

i'd like to see such a "discussion-specific-moderator" tried on
marxmail. they would have authority to ask Lou to unsub someone
__until__ they cool off or agree to respond to the sub-moderators
debate requests.

agree also with mark that the list is primarily for political
discussion. angry words can be tolerated in outburts, but not
systematically. if one set of comrades suddenly appear as the enemy
class to another, either the list has failed to collect a coherent set
of political participants, or the argument is off base. i very much
doubt the first case, and assume simply that when XXXX calls YYY a
ZZZ, this is simply a some form of a mutation on a well-known debating

les schaffer

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