Re: ADMIN: Civility and content

Subject: Re: ADMIN: Civility and content
From: Samuel Choy <schoy -at- us -dot- ibm -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2003 10:36:12 -0500

First of all, I want to say that though I've mostly lurked the last five
years I've been on this list, I have gotten a lot out of the list. One time
I posted anonymously when I had to make a major career-changing decision
and have received excellent advice. Another time when I was at a crossroads
in my career, I solicited advice off-line from some members whom I highly
respect and also received excellent advice.

So what do we do about improving the civility and content of the list? It
seems to me that there are two types of motivators that can help us improve
the list. The first type of motivators are external motivators. External
motivators are the most practical and easiest to administrate. They are
things that have already been mentioned:

* Limiting posts
* Being more strict about policing the list's policies
* Ostracizing violators

The second type of motivators are internal motivators. I think internal
motivators are much more powerful but much harder, if not impossible, to
administrate. They are things that Eric has been trying to emphasize such

*Respect for other posters
*Pride in the quality of this list
*A desire to post reasonable, logical posts
*A desire to help other tech writers

The unfortunate fact is that when internal motivators fail, you have to
enforce external motivators. And while I am not altogether against using
external motivators to clean up the civility and content of the list, it
would be sad if we had to do that. I really enjoy this list. I think we are
better than that.

I put my account on no-mail for several weeks because I needed to do some
catching up--so I am not up on what has been happening. I can't imagine
that it has been that bad. At least I hope it hasn't been. But perhaps we
can use this as a wake-up call to start using our internal motivators.

I recommend putting the list on probation for a few weeks. Let's see if we
can't use our internal motivators to improve the list. If that doesn't
work, then Eric would resort to one of the external motivators. I don't
care which one--any would most likely work.

Samuel Choy


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