Re: Moderated Techwr-l List?

Subject: Re: Moderated Techwr-l List?
From: "Wing, Michael J" <mjwing -at- INGR -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 22 Aug 1996 13:14:42 -0500

>Bill Burns wrote:
>> This post is the second I've seen suggesting that Tom is
>> preaching for censorship. In my mind, this insinuation is
>> not only unfair to Tom, who was suggesting a *choice* for both
>> audiences (those who like chat and those who don't), but it
>> reduces the term "censorship" to mean any type of control
>> over content, regardless of whether that control is justified . . .

>And in another post:
>> He made a suggestion, and it was greeted with nasty
>> insinuations rather than tempered feedback. . . .

This is an "all or nothing" comment. Some, but not all, of the replies
were nasty.

>And again:
>> I was thinking more on the lines of a completely
>> separate list--different name and different distribution.
>> (Was this Tom's idea too, or am I alone in this?)

>Thanks, Bill, for the support. Yes, that was my idea--
>a completely separate list. I expect it would attract
>some or most of the readers of the current list, or no
>one at all, if there was little interest.

I think much of this could have been avoided if the original suggestion
defined that the moderated list is to be a completely separate list.
The following is the original phrasing:

"I have a suggestion--Would someone volunteer to maintain a moderated
techwriter list? I know
Eric is too busy, and I don't blame him for not wanting yet another baby
to sit. Any takers?"

The phrase "a moderated techwriter list" followed closely by a statement
referring to Eric tends to make the association that Eric's list is the
list to be moderated. Because "a moderated techwriter list" is
non-definitive and after clarification, I can now see where Tom is
talking about an entirely different list.

>And yes, I am surprised that a focused alternative is
>viewed as censorship. The analogy that comes to mind
>is the scene from Star Trek--The Whales, where Spock
>turns off the radio on the bus and the crowd goes wild.

A better analogy to a separate list would be that Spock and Kirk get on
another bus (this bus would be a "no noise" bus). Spock turning off the
radio while remaining on the same bus reinforces fears of censorship.

>My point--most people don't want every act to take place
>everywhere it can. Recognizing that is not censorship, it's knowing
>and being sensitive to the audience in front of you. This list
>is large (Eric says 2500+), and I suspect most aren't
>interested in a fair chunk of what happens here. Is it
>so wrong, I wonder, to ask people to moderate their behavior
>in a group gathered for a specific purpose?

No it is not. Neither is suggesting a separate, moderated list.
However, if the misinterpretation (censor the existing list) had not
been a misinterpretation, I see plenty wrong with it.

>(Another spin on the C-word issue is this--Censorship is
>a hot-button word; there are other hot-button words to
>describe people who refuse to stop being annoying. The
>hot-button discussion could go both ways.)

Starving these people (by not giving them the attention they crave)
works better than swatting at them. What is that anecdote? Something
like, "Wrestle with a pig and you both get dirty. Only the pig loves
it!" - or - "Never argue with a fool!. People may not be able to tell
who's who".

>Again, this is not about censorship or morality.
>I just want a different room, where the air has a
>different color and the conversation is more what
>I want. If others want the same, it will happen.

With the clarification of the moderated list being a separate list, I
withdraw my charges of censorship. In regard to the perceived tone in
some of the analogies presented in justifying a moderated list, well, I
am trying (real hard) to resist making charges of elitism ;^).

Mike Wing

>_/ Michael Wing
>_/ Principal Technical Writer
>_/ Infrastructure Technical Information Development
>_/ Intergraph Corporation
>_/ Huntsville, Alabama
>_/ (205) 730-7250
>_/ mjwing -at- ingr -dot- com

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