Elizabeth Childs (
Mon, 31 May 1999 08:43:41 -0700

I'm a little confused as to why it's such a big deal. I think I'm probably the least technically savvy person on the entire list, but I figured out how to kill all the gun messages before I even saw them. It took me less than 30 seconds. (If you're having trouble doing this in Netscape, write me.)

I wonder if it's a difference in how people approach the list. To me, the list is like a party, with different conversations going on in every room. In one room, brilliant scientists are talking about the ins and outs of nanotechnology; in another, people are discussing a news article about telomere shortening in Dolly, the cloned sheep; and in another room, people are having a loud, angry debate about gun control.

The loud, angry gun control debate does seem a little out of place at this party, but it's easy enough for me to go to the next room. In real life, I would avoid people who call each other names in the context of a debate; here, that is even easier. <plonk>

I wonder if the people getting upset see the list more as a conversation between a small group of friends, and they would feel rude if they don't listen to what everyone has to say. Therefore, they find it rude of the debaters to talk endlessly about something that the others don't want to discuss.

Or else they see the list as a formal discussion group, with rules that are being broken. If, in real life, you go once a week to a group discussion on advanced technology, it would be a totally inappropriate use of that time if people started talking about guns, and against the rules of the group.

People with a "party" metaphor can be satisfied with aggresive killfiling. Perhaps for people who prefer a formal discussion group, with chartered rules, we could implement a system of required Meta tags in the subject header, and all of the guns/property rights/etc postings could have "CONTROVERSIAL:" in their subject heading, as in, "CONTROVERSIAL: I still think you are a Communist idiot, and gun statistics." This would allow the loud people to have their say, without seriously inconveniencing the rest of us, as it makes killfiling seamless.

For people who see the list as a conversation between friends, however, the only solution I can see is to create a separate list like "Extropians Meta" and whenever anything gets out of hand, demand that it be sent over there.

I do think we may need a formal, procedural solution, as politely asking people to stop seems to have no effect.

"E. Shaun Russell" wrote:
> Damien wrote:
> >
> >>Unfortunately there is no unsubscription feedback, otherwise you'd see
> >>you're killing the list
> >
> >Yes. *Soooo* tempted.
> >
> >>And let's declare future gun debates off limits.
> >
> >Yes. Please. I feel sick.
> "Me too" posts are almost always a waste of bandwidth, but given
> the situation I must say: "Me too!"
> I remember posting a few months ago my views on keeping the list
> open, for the sake of any signal...but this is ridiculous. I can't even
> rely on the subject headings any more to indicate the quality of the posts.
> So little signal gets through that I wonder if it is truly worth sifting
> through the heaps of garbage just to find it. Maybe the conferences will
> have to be enough to keep my interests peaked.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> E. Shaun Russell Musician, Extropian, ExI Member
> =================================================================>
> Kineticize your potential.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------