Kill the D*mn Off-Topic Posts:
a short chapbook on what to do when faced
with off-topic posts on the Amber E-mail List.
To: amber @ logrus.org Subject: LIST ADMIN Re: AMBER: Swearing Date: Fri, 15 May 1998 11:25:05 -0400 From: Lisa LeutheuserAll that said, I do have another lecture on netcourtesy that I recommend for amber list members who want to know more about my philosophy about off-topic posts to the list.
Spam has become one of those ill-defined terms where every e-mail not to someone's liking is suddenly called "spam." Sorry folks. It's not that simple: off-topic posts are not always spam. Sometimes they're just off-topic. In general, for this list, off-topic posts are not welcome. I don't care if the apocalypse is about to happen; it's off-topic, so don't send a warning about it to the list. I think people expect a little too much from the medium, that is, from e-mail. 1) The Internet only appears to provide instant communication. 2) Messages arrive USUALLY in the order they were sent, but not always. 3) List admin messages asking people to cease are sent AFTER the offending messages, and therefore, will not be seen by MOST readers until after they've read the offending message. 4) When a person sends a message to the list, it goes to logrus.org (aka deathstar.org) where majordomo attempts to send out the message to every member of the amber list. Sometimes messages get delayed due to network or computer failures. Majordomo will patiently attempt to resend the message to those who did not receive it the first time for three days before giving up. So it's possible for some people to not receive some messages. 5) Conversations wander, and the people participating in them do not always notice right away that it's time to move the topic off the list. If the list traffic is light, then I don't kick marginal threads like English Law, which eventually seemed to have little to do with Amber, off the list. (No was complaining and I figured that someone might be using this to form the basis for Amber law in their campaign.) But for the copyright thread, because it had outlived its usefulness to Amberfic writers, I did step in and say to take it elsewhere when the polite requests from other people who beat me to it seemed to not work. What does this mean? It means give the list admin an opportunity to respond. I do not live on the net 24/7; therefore, I will not see every message as soon as it arrives in my mailbox. It means that sending complaints to me personally is the best way to express your unhappiness. In addition to general announcements to the list, I handle much of the "take it off the list" through private e-mail. It means that because of #4 that some of you may receive some of these off-topic messages up to three days after most everyone else has seen them (and out of order, at that). Therefore, before sending out "take this off the list" post that perhaps it would be a good idea to follow the age-old advice of "look before you leap", that is, look ahead in your messages to see someone else has already done this. (...so we don't end up with 20 "take this off the list" messages in response to one off-topic post.) Finally, I hate lecturing. Would you all just chill out and allow some grace and patience for an imperfect medium used by imperfect humans, or I'm gonna start swearing. Lisa Leutheuser Amber List Admin eal @ umich.edu
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