Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(August 2003)

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Subject: Re: list policies about vacation programs
From: Chuq Von Rospach <chuqui @ plaidworks . com>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 09:10:57 -0700
To: J C Lawrence <claw @ kanga . nu>
Cc: Chuq Von Rospach <chuqui @ plaidworks . com>, list-managers @ greatcircle . com, Berg Oswell <berg @ eskimo . com>
In-reply-to: <6018 . 1060957331 @ kanga . nu>

On Friday, August 15, 2003, at 07:22  AM, J C Lawrence wrote:

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.

Beyond that -- if you are managing a group of some sort, your responsibility is to make decisions in a way that when the needs/interests of the group are in conflict with the needs/interests of an individual in that group, the group's needs/interests take precedence.

There are always individuals that have trouble with that concept, assuming or demanding that they be the center of the universe, or at least be catered to. Unless the group is *about you*, any group of size > 2 is about building a consensus compromise among the members so things work as well as possible for as many as possible. Any individual who can't/won't accept that compromise isn't really part of the group, and is a destructive force on the group.

Some users don't like not being the center of the universe, and generally blame the admin for having to point out that reality. It's part of the job. But the primary responsibility of the admin is to make sure the group flourishes, not that it caters to the needs of every individual who wants to be part of the group. Not all individuals are going to fit into the group. that's pure human nature, and making these groups virtual doesn't change that reality (although we sure tried, didn't we?)

server, it doesn't involve the list.  Therefore the list owner has no
business getting involved;

Baloney. To push an analogy into an unrecognizable form to make a point, the group admin is the sheepdog; the wolf has just told the sheepdog had has no right to interfere with his interactions with the sheep, because the wolf didn't attack the sheepdog directly.

I, as sheepdog, don't particularly care what the wolf's attitude towards this is. Which tends to piss off the wolves, but I'm only interested in keeping the sheep happy.

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

I don't care, as long as you don't cause problems for the group. If you follow the rules set out for the group, and I don't get complaints, then things are fine. And under most circumstances, even if you don't fully follow the rules and I don't get cmoplaints, things are still fine. But when I start getting complaints....

  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.

He gets a warning. if it continues, he gets nuked. if it still continues, I (as sheepdog) go to his isp, his boss, his wife, his CPA, his lawyer, whatever it takes, as representative of my group of users to get him to stop, because it's my responsibility to protect them, and I have an ability to carry the cause of the group, which lends force to it that a set of individuals can't do.

And on a purely pragmatic level, if my group gets a reputation for being a place where people are harrassed and abused and nobody does anything about it -- my group dies. Everyone leaves and goes somewhere safer. Except the trolls and wolves.

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.

In all cases the decision of the chosen leader is preferable to leaving it to random decisions by people who might not be interested in making the group better. or even care if the group survives.

Someone has to be the mommy. Groups that don't have that tend to turn into Lord of the Flies, or an empty lecture hall with the doors open to the weather.

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