Re: List Minders

Date: 03/13/05-11:06:30 PM Z
Message-id: <>


Being a list minder on any Internet list is probably a pretty thankless job—
and at times a very difficult one. Any list open to the general public will
attract all sorts of people with varying styles of communication, varying
degrees of civility, and varying thickness of skin.

In addition to sharing information, list members need to be able to debate
issues and try to arrive at some conclusions. However, when the debate veers
off of alt photo issues and becomes a personal attack, then the discussion
deteriorates rapidly and it is destructive the list community.

It is actually quite easy to look at a post and determine whether the
verbiage has veered off target and become a personal attack—unfortunately we at times
fail to proof our own posts prior to hitting the send button. Perhaps
saving a reply over night and reading it again the next morning before hitting the
send button would prevent some of the angst from occurring on the list. It
would also serve people well to address concerns they may have with another
list member in a civil manner off list. Any post made on the list of a personal
nature is the same as tossing down the gauntlet. Rarely will the go
unanswered and usually the insults continue back and forth ad infinitum because no
one wants to back off.

It would be great if everything always went smoothly, but I've never seen any
list that didn't have periods of difficulties similar to this. Regardless of
the extent to which a list is moderated, a great deal of responsibility falls
upon each list member to act in a dignified manner. If people refuse to play
by the rules and there is little recourse for a list minder to resort to,
then the list minders are placed in an impossible position of having the
responsibility without commensurate authority to do anything about it.

I don't even pretend to know what the agreement is between Gordon and the
list minders regarding how to handle difficult situations. I would also guess
that it is enough work for Gordon just to keep the list running, yet alone to
be "rewarded" with having to deal with these conflicts.

I like and would support the idea of a group of list minders with
responsibility for specific days. That way it is clear who is responsible to deal with
the issue.

I would also support the suggestion that the list minders might discuss and
come to a consensus regarding action that should be taken. Since it is
Gordon's list, perhaps he should have the final say on such recommendations by the
list minders.

Perhaps a clear statement of steps that will be taken could be adopted, such

First time: An off list warning.
Second time: Suspension from the list for a given period of time.
Third time: Banned from the list till hell freezes over or Kodak colors their
film boxes green.

I think that a lot of people leave the list because of these squabbles and
the insults that are tossed back and forth. That is a shame—a lot of knowledge
and talent is lost. I also think that it keeps a lot of people at "lurker
status" because they are not sure how a post might be received. Perhaps we
could all be more encouraging to those who just read the list and get them to be
more actively involved. I know a number of people who are very
knowledgeable yet they rarely post because they do not want to have to deal with endless
critical responses.

Anyway, I'm just one person and it's just one opinion.

Best Wishes,

Mark Nelson
Received on Sun Mar 13 23:06:49 2005

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