I think this debate is very much of a way people cast the problem--I
suspect there is a lot of fundamental agreement on the fact that it
makes sense to offer subscribers some sort of stable service and that
it isn't good to lead them on thinking they will get some service, then
offer it inconsistently. Thus, even if the service is offered for
free, it makes sense for us administrators to discuss the issue of how
to best provide good service to subscribers, and I'm betting that most
list administrators are interested in such things.
The flamebait is the suggestion that people who give their own time to
their subscribers to administer a mailing list and get nothing in
return owe something to their subscribers. It is only natural that
lots of administrators will feel the opposite way--that it is
themselves who are being imposed upon and are owed something,
especially if they have just had to deal with a time-consuming
mailing-list crises. But discussions of how to offer best service need
not appeal to "what is owed".