Moderating groups (was Grrr! )

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Thu Oct 19 20:23:50 EST 1995

On 19 Oct 1995, Pascal Scheffers wrote:

> Hello robison at!
> Wednesday October 18 1995 14:48, robison at wrote to All:
>  r> One solution to consider (though I have no clue if the code exists)
> That would be a very simple shellscript.
>  r> would a simple scheme of automoderation:
>  r>   1. We consider b.i-t a simple little club (it is after all! :-).
>  r>   2. Member's posts are automatically passed through.
>  r>   3. You get to be a member by making _one_ on-topic post.
> Just add one other thing: once the group sees a posting that should not be
> there, 

Problem(s) here [ as well as with any censorship, no matter how
well intended it may be ] is that it always contains unresolvable 
items, like in the above: 

"... group sees ..... posting should not be there ... ".

Who and how can define all that ?  Group by definition consists
of people and people generally disagree (otherwise, no point to
have a group) and often "see" one and the same thing differently.
Some people for example found criticism of secretive peer review
and policies of funding agencies quite offensive. Some found
offensive the assumptions that the grantsmanship system can be 
widely corrupted, that professors can exploit their graduate 
students and/or steal ideas from students and/or postdocs. 
Slander. Not on this planet.

The only agreement which you can perhaps sensibly implement is 
that there must not be explicitely offensive language (f-words, 
say) and libelous statements against specific people. All the 
rest is more-or-less grey area : yes, almost all have consensus 
that chain letters like "how to make money by sending $5 to me" 
do not belong to science discussion groups, but some ads 
nonetheless can fall in a grey area.

And by all means discussions of general character like Motives 
of Scientists, science funding and peer review, etc. must not be 
censored at all. No to Big Brother on Net. 

> the user is kicked out of the datebase and will always be moderated.

Perhaps better route is that after the first offence public 
warning should be posted by a group coordinator, and only at the 
second offence the above measure can be applied, perhaps for a
term period (e.g. three months ban). 

Alex Berezin

> Pascal Scheffers                       pscheffers at
>                                              P.R.Scheffers at
> ... Even the blind can see money.
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