Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(August 2003)

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Subject: Re: list policies about vacation programs
From: J C Lawrence <claw @ kanga . nu>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 10:22:11 -0400
To: Berg Oswell <berg @ eskimo . com>
Cc: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
Delivery-date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 07:22:12 -0700
In-reply-to: Message from Berg Oswell <berg @ eskimo . com> of "Fri, 15 Aug 2003 02:44:01 PDT." <200308150944 . CAA04176 @ eskimo . com>
References: <200308150944 . CAA04176 @ eskimo . com>

On Fri, 15 Aug 2003 02:44:01 -0700 (PDT) 
Berg Oswell <berg @
 eskimo .
 com> wrote:
> Bernie Cosell wrote:

> If the irritation is being relayed through the list, then by all
> means, it's quite fair to drop someone.  But how is it fair to drop
> someone off of a list for their activities off of that list?

People are social creatures.  Social structures are rarely, if ever,
clearly bounded and delineated.  There's not question of fairness here,
there are merely questions of social expectation and implication.

> Granted, the reply the autoresponder sent was in response to list
> traffic; But since the auto-response didn't go through the list
> server, it doesn't involve the list.  Therefore the list owner has no
> business getting involved; If people have complaints, they should go
> to the ISP the auto-responder is running on, not the list-owner.

If you use some aspect of a service I provide to do something I don't
like, in whatever regard, for whatever reason, in whatever manner, then
I'm likely to respond.  You are using something I provide to do
something I don't want.  Sounds to me like a perfect excuse for me to
stop providing to you so that you won't do that.

Maybe you're using the lawn mower I let you borrow to mow down the wild
flowers I like on the back forty, or maybe you're using mail from a list
I run to do something else that I don't like.  Doesn't really matter.  I
stop letting you borrow the mower, and I stop letting you participate in
my list.  

> When you sign up for something online, how much authority are you
> granting the person who runs that service?  From the majority of the
> opinions on this issue, the answer seems to be "total authority over
> everything I send or say".

No, just over the service provided and the uses to which it is put or

> The answer is no.  And the same thing applies to a list-owner, when
> someone does something they dislike off-list.  The list-owner has
> authority over the list, and authority over the subscribers for their
> activities on that list...but that authority ends very sharply where
> the list ends.

...and (partial) authority over the uses the data which flows over that
list are put to.

Again, people are social critters and social structures are, by nature,
not well bounded.  

  Let's take a really trivial and simple example.  You run a list.  It
  doesn't matter which and it largely doesn't matter what its topic is.
  Its just a list.  Perhaps its one of Chuq's sports lists, a highly
  technical geek list, a political debate list or say even a glorified
  coffee klatch.  Doesn't matter.

  There is a poster on that list who emails every list poster with a
  female name proposing sexual dalliances etc.  This happens entirely
  off-list, but the messages are (often enough) off-list replies to list
  messages.  On-list this same member is well behaved and perhaps even a
  quality poster.

Would you kick him off?  Why, or why not?  He's not doing anything
offensive on-list after all.

> If you choose to exercise authority you do not have anyway, that is
> arbitrary and unfair.

In almost all cases any decision is preferable to no decision, and
decisions can be changed.

J C Lawrence                
---------(*)                Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas. 
claw @
 kanga .
 nu               He lived as a devil, eh?  Evil is a name of a foeman, as I live.

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From: Jeffrey Goldberg <jeffrey @ goldmark . org>
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