[Air-l] Disrupting lists

Charlie Breindahl hitch at hum.ku.dk
Thu Mar 21 00:54:50 PST 2002

I once was a subscriber to the phil-lit list started by the people behind the print magazine Philosophy and Literature. Some years ago, the hostility on this list of booklovers escalated to unbelievable levels - as some fellow AoIR members can probably testify. 
- Postings went from being on the subject to acerbic and then ad-hominem.
- The main topic for the whole list changed from "philosophy and literature" to "list maintenance."
- People were summarily and repeatedly unsubscribed and resubscribed by list management. 
- As a result, the list in effect ceased to function as an open and friendly venue for debate.

To me, this was very instructive. Trolling and flaming are very interesting phenomena to be sure, but they can thoroughly destroy an e-mail list. I don't want this to happen to AIR-L. If research in such phenomena is needed, please carry it out elsewhere. 

AIR-L is a list with an agreed-upon topic: Scholarly research about the Internet itself. It is also a list started and maintained by a democratic organization. Jeremy Hunsinger and I are appointed Information Officers of this organization and have acted following clear instructions by the president of AoIR to remove a subscriber from AIR-L. The decision was made following a thorough debate in the executive committee and has been announced to AIR-L with a clear motivation (see below).

I think all members of AoIR should respect this decision for now. Following the rules of a representative democracy, a member of AoIR should cast her/his vote for the next executive committee in accordance with her/his stand on this issue. I also think that non-members should leave it for members to decide - or join the association. The cost involved is not prohibitive.

There is no easy way to ensure that an open e-mail list continues to function, but we have to try. In my view, it is the duty of the elected officials of AoIR to protect the open and friendly forum of AIR-L. If we fail to act when a subscriber is acting in a hostile and disruptive way, then we have failed to act as we should. 

Charlie Breindahl
Information Officer

About the phil-lit list, see http://www.press.jhu.edu/journals/philosophy_and_literature/information/listserv.html

> -----Original Message-----
> From: air-l-admin at aoir.org [mailto:air-l-admin at aoir.org]On Behalf Of
> Steve Jones
> Sent: 18. marts 2002 22:43
> To: air-l
> Subject: [Air-l] Lachlan Brown has been unsubscribed from air-l
> Based on today's e-mails from him, and earlier ones, I have had 
> Lachlan Brown's e-mail addresses removed from the air-l list. He will 
> not be able to post to air-l from those addresses. Furthermore, air-l 
> is now open to subscribers only, and subscriptions will be moderated 
> by the air-l administrators. A comprehensive posting policy is 
> forthcoming (hopefully in the next day or two), but in the meantime 
> due to the personal, inappropriate and harassing nature of his recent 
> posts I've decided to remove Lachlan from the list at this time.
> Thanks you,
> Sj

Charlie Breindahl
Ph.D. Student, Copenhagen + Malmö

Web:    http://staff.hum.ku.dk/hitch/
Phone:  +45 35 32 81 19 or +46 40 665 71 51
Mobile: +45 51 92 15 98
E-mail: hitch at hum.ku.dk

"For the modern Don Quixote, the windmills have been preprogrammed to turn into knights"
        - Janet H. Murray

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