On The Role Of Biocomputing Services {RE: structure of bionet}

Soaring Bear bear at helium.gas.uug.arizona.edu
Thu Aug 25 16:18:41 EST 1994

In article <1994Aug20.071527.3682 at comp.bioz.unibas.ch>,
(bionet.general #4286)
Reinhard Doelz <doelz at comp.bioz.unibas.ch> wrote:
> If only possible, a fully moderated bionet.* were what we need!
> Don't understand me wrong - not _censor_, but _quality_ modera-
> tion is the goal.

This really brings up a tough issue:  What is the proper
balance of encouraging a free flow of fruitful communications
versus moderating/censoring to reduce 'noisyness' and flames?
There is a real variability of definition of just what constitutes
noise and flames.

There's probably a whole lot of agreement that we don't
need immigration lawyer ads posted to all groups.    But at what
point do you call someone's gripe related to the topic of the group
a flame or noise?

A really good example of this controversy is with dibug
mail reflector, for Biosym software users.  (It is an "unmoderated"
mail reflector founded by Peter Shenkin on Oct 8 1990 and had its
maintenance transferred to Dr Doelz a couple years ago.)

A few recent gripes about the software resulted in the
maintainer unilateraly suspending the list for a month with
these statements:

 "I apologize for the need to act as censor in this situation"

 "In order to cool down, the mail subscription will be stopped
 until September 15, in order to allow for a month's recovery."

You can view the full archive at:
FTP and GOPHER:  bioftp.unibas.ch
 or mosaic URL:  http://www-bio.unizh.ch/sw/swbiosym.html

Surely someone who founds their own 'moderated'
list has the leeway to do anything s/he wants to do with it.
But this situation has the added complexity of someone who
took on the responsibility for an already existing group
with a charter of "UNmoderated".

So what range of expression is normally anticipated
under an "UNmoderated" charter?   If a maintainer doesn't
care to operate a group any longer what responsibility is
there for a smooth transition?

	 Soaring Bear

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