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Re: suggestion to list operator

Regarding off-topic posts:

This list is unmoderated. That means I do not and will not intercept
the messages before they are posted and pass judgment on their
appropriateness. As you can read in the "Policies" section of your
welcome message, a certain low level of non-iris conversation is
tolerated here, because it helps us get to know each other and helps
to create a friendlier, less formal atmosphere.

This list does produce a moderately large volume of mail daily. Most
internet mailing lists do. (In fact, most of the others I belong to
generate a much higher volume of mail than does Iris-L.) This is to
be expected; it is in the nature of the medium. We have about 200
subscribers now. If you are interested in participating in a smaller,
more narrowly focused discussion group, contact Sharon McAllister
(73372.1745@COMPUSERVE.COM), who coordinates the email round robin
programs for the AIS and the Aril Society.

If you would prefer to receive each day's messages consolidated
into a single file, rather than receiving each message separately,
you can put your subscription in digest mode. Refer to your welcome
message for instructions.

I am sensitive to the concerns of those who are irritated by the
number of off-topic messages. Some of us are connected to the internet
via slow modems and some of us pay for every minute of connect time. It
is understandably upsetting to wait (and pay) to download two or three
dozen messages from Iris-L, only to find that a third of those messages
have little to do with irises (and perhaps nothing to do with their
stated subject).

However, this remains an unmoderated list. It is not appropriate for
me to act as policeman, noting each and every off-topic posting and
maintaining a list of offenders. Rather, I will continue to do what I
have done in the past:

1. I will occasionally remind the list as a whole to read the stated
list policies and make a good-faith attempt to respect them (I have
so far done this about three times).

2. I will occasionally ask that a particular thread be taken off-list.
I do not do this for routine off-topic discussion that is likely to
peter out on its own. Instead, I do this when (a) the conversation has
generated a large number of postings and seems unlikely to die any time
soon, (b) the tone of the conversation is becoming argumentative or
insulting, or (c) the subject is potentially sensitive, like religion or
politics. (I have so far done this once).

3. I will occasionally send private email to a list subscriber, asking
that person to make a better effort to respect the list policies. This
is not something I do routinely whenever I notice a "violation".
Rather, this is done when there is a pattern of disregard for the policies,
brought to my attention by other subscribers. (I have so far done this
in only one case).

>From experience with many internet mailing lists and newsgroups over
about two years, I believe that this is roughly the best level of
involvement for the owner of an unmoderated list to assume. I
welcome your thoughts on the matter, however. Please send me private
email (rather than posting to the list) if you have questions or
comments on this subject.

Remember that this list includes many people with many different
interests and personalities. It will never suit each of us perfectly.
The best we can achieve is a list that, taken as a whole, is of some
value to everyone.

Best to all, Tom.


Tom Tadfor Little         tlittle@lanl.gov  -or-  telp@Rt66.com
technical writer/editor   Los Alamos National Laboratory
Telperion Productions     http://www.rt66.com/~telp/

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