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bailing water from the Titanic
There are times when I feel like I'm doing exactly what's in my
subject line above...
Before you read further I would like you to recite the following
mantra: "I will not respond to dinosaur list administrative messages
except via private e-mail directed to the list's owner". This message
is a dinosaur list administrative message.
I've now had opportunity to implement the second of the two new rules
added to the list's administrivia message last month. As a new
experiment inspired by feedback I've gotten over the past month and a
half I'm not going to publicly divulge the identity of the person
(said person has been informed, however). I'm hoping that just
knowing the threat of punitive action is real will be enough to temper
some of your messages when your individual consciences aren't enough.
The person who has been timed out is not the only person I've received
complaints about but is the only one that was the subject of three
complaints in rapid enough sequence. Please, everyone try to play
Since the ship does still appear to be sinking, however, I'm
considering two more additions to administrative policy. Number one
(in case any of you have forgotten) this list is supposed to harbor
discussions about science. To me it seems that too often of late the
list has been harboring discussions about personalities. The current
rules of the list prohibit flaming of other participants. I'm
strongly considering broadening that rule for the purpose of
prohibiting flames of people not on the list. Complain about their
conclusions, dispute their facts, but don't complain about their
personal characteristics or things you think they might do. This
should not be the place for that. I can already think of a lot of
reasons as to why I should make this rule. Can anyone think of any
reasons why I shouldn't?
Second, I'm sure I'm not the only one who is tired of seeing
meta-threads about whether or not a discussion belongs on the list.
In the interest of keeping such threads off the list, I propose that
if you think a thread has worn out its welcome, tell me. I may then
agree with you and call for a moratorium on said thread. I suspect
that I'll then allow 24 hours to elapse during which people can throw
in their final two cents on the subject and people who submit messages
in violation of the moratorium will be subject to punitive action.
I'm submitting the above sketches as a request for feedback. No
policy changes will go into effect until explicitly stated. Most
probably I will work the changes into the canned message that should
go out on July 1st.
Dedicated to keeping these discussions useful and on topic,
Mickey Rowe (firstname.lastname@example.org)