At 11:28 AM 5/21/2001 +0100, William Silvert wrote:
>So while I agree that YAV (Yet Another Virus) postings should be banned from
>most lists, the attitude that all subscribers should be sophisticated about
>the latest developments in virus technology is not justified in my opinion.
>I think that we owe it to our subscribers to help them know what to look
The point is that it is not just virus warnings. Virus warnings are just
another example of a type of posting that is "so important that it must be
posted even though it is off topic."
If we accept that there are postings that are so important that they must
be posted even they are off topic, the result will be that all lists will
be about things so important that they override the topics of the list.
For example, virus warnings are very important, and they should be posted
to lists. Perhaps both e-mail and ebola.
And missing childen are very important, and so appeals for them should be
posted to all lists, including binary jpgs of them being cute.
And appeals for dying children are important, so they must be posted to the
list (please send a postcard to....)
And genocide is very important, so notices about genocide should be
important to all lists.
And blue star lsd is very important and notices about it should be posted
to all mailing lists. And aids infected needles in phone booths are really
important (another virus warning, retro, this time). And exploding
cactuses. And the US Presidential election was real important.
And so on and so forth. Soon all mailing lists will be about very
important things, and the original purpose of the lists will be lost.
By the way, I understand about social lists. I am a member of one or two
such lists, and anything that the people on the list feel like typing in is
important. The rest of the lists I'm on and run are not social lists, and
to allow such postings on the excuse, say, that "anything that affects
scuba divers is on topic for a scuba diving list" makes it a list without a
Believe it or not, most subscribers prefer a focused list.
So, where do you draw the line? Are virus warnings more important because
they relate to computers and we use computers for our list work? Maybe we
all drive to work in cars, should we all post recall notices on Firestone
>We owe it to ourselves as well. One poster commented that she was blamed
>because a subscriber was infected and was sending out infected files -
>surely that calls for a brief warning to the list? That might have cut down
>on her junk mail too.
Stupidity is very important. Perhaps all mailing lists should be about
stupidity? :-) Maybe they all are.... :-)
If the list owner thinks that a notice is important and related to the
running of the list, the list owner can send it out, with the appropriate
warnings that discussion of the notice is off topic as are continued vvirus
warnings. There is a difference between the list owner doing something to
run the lists and random list members making random off topic postings.
But as to the rest, this is a slippery slope. Some of us started fighting
it before the current e-mail virus warnings, with notices about missing
children and urban legends. This is just another incarnation of a topic so
important that it overrides the list purpose.
Stay off the slippery slope. If your topic excludes it, just say no.
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