EI: Being a *contributor* to the list [was: Hello again...]

From: Robert J. Bradbury (bradbury@aeiveos.wa.com)
Date: Tue Feb 15 2000 - 20:07:03 MST

Michael and Joe exchanged a set of messages with relatively
low information content (which I generally do not mind since
we are all friends here *right*!?!)

Then On Tue, 15 Feb 2000, Joe E. Dees wrote:

> Just a gentle reminder that one thing has NOT changed on this list;
> you favorite topic is STILL banned.

that was following a comment that might have been considered "baiting".

Then someone else commented on the lack of free speech seemed to
confirm Joes comments and express a "kick-the-dog" attitude about
this unfortunate situation.

Just so you don't feel the overlords aren't watching, I'll make
a few comments...

To the best of my knowledge there is no current censorship or
filtering of the messages on the list (the current requirements
on having to be on the list to submit "unfiltered" posts,
restricts junk mail until they begin forging our names from
viruses embedded on our normal host systems.).

So, from my perspective that means you have "free speech".

Free speech does not however extend to a blanket right to
waste the disk space, CPU cycles and human-time of the
list subscribers.

My mailbox is currently unfiltered. If another flame war
were to erupt that would require me to invest significant
time and energy in installing "junk" filters, I would be
strongly inclined to send bills for the time involved to
the individuals who were responsible for that additional
work. Now "responsible" individuals (see the EI principles)
would pay those bills, understanding that they had negatively
impacted me (and the EI List) (not dissimilar from shouting "FIRE"
when there is none in a crowded nightclub). The "irresponsible"
individuals (not paying the bills), I'd just haul into court
(even though I might lose) simply based on the principle of
"time"="money" and if you cost me time, I'm going to get it
back from you one way or another.

[In this context I am promoting *rational* thought regarding
the impact of the messages you post. What you mail to another
individual is "private speech" and I don't care what you say.
What you post to the list is "public speech" and it involves
impressions, costs and impacts on the people reading those posts.]

So if you *knowingly* post a message to the list that is designed
to do nothing more than "tease the dog", then you should think twice.
Note: I include *myself* in this category! If you want to "tease
the dog" do it in private with the dog, not on the list. I will
admit there is a fine line here in using rhetorical devices to
get someone to see your point and simply stirring the muddy
waters. It takes careful re-reading to determine whether you
are trying to keep things at DEFCON 1 or 2 or whether you are
seeking to push them to DEFCON 3 or 4.]

If the "wake-UP" calls didn't work, I'd begin discussions with
the board about only allowing paid-up EI members to subscribe to
the list (after all we are providing a service, no?)
and then lobby for a "nuisance" tax on inflamatory messages.
[Of course we would institute an impartial "peer"-review
committee for what constitutes and inflamatory message
(or maybe just let the list as a whole vote on it -- as I
alluded to in the jury thread).]

If none of the above worked, I'd simply take my toys
and go play elsewere. I'm sure there are venues where
the people are more interested in understanding positions
and reasonings from which they are derived rather than
simply assaulting other "beings" with said positions.

As the recent discussions regarding "subject lines" shows.
We can have some *very* divergent opinions and still manage
to understand those positions and discover how a small
sacrifice in "free speech" might be to the benefit of
the readers.

Perhaps this points out the difference between members
of a community and evangelical preachers.


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