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Re: post-moderating this list

From: Matt Nicholas
Subject: Re: post-moderating this list
Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2012 04:22:25 -0500
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On 12/22/12 12:13 AM, John W. Eaton wrote:
But I have set the moderation flag for your subscription.  I'll happily approve 
messages from you if they are on
topic and not abusive or written with a condescending tone.
Much like Stephen wrote earlier, I also have no horse in this race. I continue subscribing to this list because I occasionally find it interesting/helpful, and I occasionally try to help if I see a problem with no response that I think I know how to solve. I certainly came here for technical help, not to argue over the definitions of "free"; some of the recent discussions have clearly gotten out of hand. I just want to point a few things, as a relative outsider.

1) The needling between Sergei and others frequently goes *both ways*, and he is certainly not the only one guilty of condescension, hyperbole, or ad hominem attacks. I can recall at least one example of a perfectly on-topic message of his being met with a rather unfriendly response, which I believe was also factually incorrect (moderating his account alone seems unreasonable to me, FWIW, though I do not mean this as an endorsement of all of his messages). This sort of positive feedback of negativity can be eliminated if *either side* is willing to take the moral high ground (added bonus: the person who quits first wastes less of his life flaming the email list...I am about to take my own advice on this one). Similarly, the cycle will be less likely to begin if everyone agrees to be on 'best behavior' from the outset.

2) list moderation is generally best done by someone who has little at stake, and is able to follow #1 (no I am not volunteering :D).

3) The 'off-topic' conversations are often interesting, and provide helpful information related to a variety of technical issues (e.g. alternative software) provided by people on both sides of the issues. Prohibiting such arguments (and arguments in general) makes the list less useful. The simple solution is that these topics should simply be broken off into separate threads as appropriate (this was basically suggested already), e.g. "GPL sucks (was: matrix multiplication error)". This keeps the information better organized for archiving purposes, does not hijack the original thread, and allows those who are not interested to simply delete the 'offending' messages.

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