Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(May 1997)
 

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Subject: RE: Threats from an unsubscribed list member
From: "Henry W. Miller" <henrym @ sacto . mp . usbr . gov>
Date: Thu, 8 May 1997 04:30:04 PDT
To: whitread @ ozemail . com . au
Cc: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM, henrym @ sacto . mp . usbr . gov

> From:	MX%"whitread @
 ozemail .
 com .
 au"  8-MAY-1997 03:51:11.01
> Subj:	Threats from an unsubscribed list member
Graeme,
> Hi fellow list managers,
> 
> I've been on this list for several months and appreciated the policy and
> technical tips that you have all contributed.  Sometimes the software
> talk is a little over my head but it's only by reading this stuff that
> it will start to make sense and sink in.
> 
> I run a list for approximately 200 people.  There hasn't been any of the
> real drama mentioned by some of you as happening on your lists (the
> death threat, legal action situations come to mind).  Well, until now.
> 
> About two months ago I subscribed someone to the list who began causing
> a lot of trouble by sending multiple posts day after day, contributing
> nothing to the discussion and often just seeming to indulge in self
> promotion.  He immediately had a large chunk of the list subscribers
> offside and the complaints started rolling in.
> 
	Welcome to the world of list management.
> As I started the list with a policy of open discussion and "sensible
> freedom of speech" I didn't take any action, hoping he would get sick of
> it and calm down.  Disturbingly, he also seemed to gain a small but
> vocal support group on the list.  I was dealing with an incensed "silent
> majority" whilst he claimed the moral high ground and pointed to his
> supporters as validating anything he choose to send to the list.
> 
	That's surprising, although it's difficult to say why without 
more context.
> After a warning to him that was ignored and two months worth of
> sarcastic comments about me posted to the list, not to mention a number
> of complaints from normally quiet subscribers, I have been forced,
> reluctantly, to unsubscribe him.  The first person I've unsubscribed for
> such a reason. I wrote a letter to my list explaining why I had done it
> and, to my surprise, I have received about 12 replies thanking me and
> telling me not to worry about it.
> 
	I've been through a similar situation.  The person in question 
made running the list hell for me.  People were unsubscribing faster 
than I could keep up.  And I received numerous complaints.  When I 
yanked him, only one person, other than the person I removed cried 
"censorship".  Another list member had a sidebar with the person crying 
censorship, and explained the full history of the situation, and that 
person calmed down.
	Prior to actually pulling this person from the list, we spoke 
with his ISP about that person's attitude, language and possible 
threatening language against a couple other members of the list.  The 
ISP response was: "Well, why don't you moderate your list?".  He refused 
to do anything.
> I have had reason to doubt his emotional stability at times during the
> last two months but a post I received tonight has confirmed that there
> is something definitely wrong with him.  It was a tirade of personal
> abuse accusing me of being a dictator amongst other things I'd rather
> not go into here. More disturbingly he made a couple of very clear
> threats - that I had met my "Waterloo" in him and that he would do
> everything he could to oppose me, the list and have it shut down.
> 
	This person made similar threats against me, saying that he 
could bring the list down anytime he wanted to.  Well, that was 18 
months ago, and the list is still running...
> You people have had much more experience in dealing with this kind of
> thing than me.   What should I do about the situation?  Should I be
> worried?  Should I take any action?
> 
	Most of these people are all talk, no action.  But, in the off 
chance that you are dealing with a dangerous person, I'd first document 
EVERYTHING - all offensive messages, any warnings that you sent him, 
threats that he has made, etc.  Send them first to his ISP.  I'd also 
print copies of everything and give them to your local police, and let 
them handle it from there.  But, I would also not let him goad you via 
email into replying to him.  Just file his mail away.
> I admit that it has shaken me up somewhat.  Your advice would be
> appreciated.
> 
	Good luck - he'll hopefully calm down and decide that your list 
is not worth the effort.  I'm not making a judgement about your list, 
since I know nothing about it.  Hopefully he'll look for a soapbox 
elsewhere.
> Graeme Read
> Sydney, Australia
> 
> whitread @
 ozemail .
 com .
 au
-HWM


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