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moderation redux

After a few days worth of experience, I have some new issues to
address re: the rules of moderation.  The rule that generated the most
personal mail to me was the "only 5 messages/day/person" rule.  Many
people think that rule is too strict.  I may relax it, but more
importantly I may enforce it somewhat erratically.  Enforcing means
that I'd have to keep a running total for each person each day, and
I'm not sure how much effort I want to put into doing that.  So far I
it hasn't been an issue, so I don't yet have any experiences telling
me how to deal with it.  I'll keep you posted as I develop.  I'm sure
you'll keep me posted if you don't like the job I'm doing :-)

The second-most difficult issue has been one of included text.  I was
clearly too vague in my first pass, so let me give you the rule of
thumb that I'm going to try to use: if more than half of a message is
composed of included text and it seems possible to easily summarize
the quoted material, I'm going to reject your message.  I haven't been
too consistent with that ruling; the first day I enforced it in the
form I just stated; today I've let just about everything through.  I
apologize to a couple of you who got "bit" the first day, but I want
to caution everyone else that I will get stricter about this
criterion.  When I let George's message through last night that was
just a mistake -- I didn't notice the included text until I read the
message again this morning (George's contribution to the message
didn't particularly bother me -- I wouldn't have rejected it for
that).  Sorry about my slip-up there too.

The next question is about duplication.  I've probably struggled with
this one more than any other so far.  All I can say is you *really*
shouldn't take it personally if I reject a message because it doesn't
appear to contain anything new.  It certainly doesn't mean your
message isn't better (or at least as good as) previous ones...

Now to new things:  I forgot to list another criterion -- If I feel a
particular message is of interest only to one or a few other
individuals, I will forward that message to those individuals instead
of to the list.  I'll also forward it back to the person who wrote it
so that they know I've done this.

And: one of the reasons I created the "mickey" account was that I
thought it would make it simpler for me to get substitute moderators;
anyone with the password and some simple instructions could fill in
for me.  In talking it over with the one poor sap who's volunteered to
substitute, it's occurred to us that this isn't such a good idea
because it makes it unclear to you guys who is doing the rejecting or
approving.  So instead, I'm likely to just reconfigure the
listprocessor every time someone else is going to do the job.  Expect
other people here in my place at least occasionally, possibly

Also: since most of you haven't yet experienced it, let me make it
clear that when I say I will "reject" a message, I mean that I will
return it to the sender with an explanation as to why I don't think I
should post it.

I'm sure I've forgotten other things again, but this will do for now.
Soon I'm going to make the stated moderation policies available via
e-mail, ftp and http.  I'll make an announcement when that becomes a

Mickey Rowe     (rowe@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu)