1. Participation in an email list creates a sense of group
membership among the participants. All in all, this is a good
thing. It makes email groups more civil than NetNews, on the
2. The list administrator has some enforcement functions. Other
than invective shared over the list or off the list, the only
real enforcement capability is in the hands of the person with
kill [subscription] privileges.
3. Too many of the subscribers to list-managers think that they
own "their" lists. A more positive deal is that the participant
group has some minimal level of self-organization and the
list manager functions more nearly as trustee than as autocrat.
I would actually suggest that you solicit your mailing list to
see what the level of interest would be in forming a bylaws
committee that would formalize the mutual responsibilities of
list participants and the distinguished role of the list manager
as a contract validated both by group and manager.
I think that you need to involve the group in creating a common
understanding of the difference between group norms (to which
they are entitled, but for which they have to accept
responsibility) and your role as steward of the MLM.