On Friday, August 15, 2003, at 07:22 AM, J C Lawrence wrote:
> People are social creatures. Social structures are rarely, if ever,
> clearly bounded and delineated. There's not question of fairness here,
> there are merely questions of social expectation and implication.
Beyond that -- if you are managing a group of some sort, your
responsibility is to make decisions in a way that when the
needs/interests of the group are in conflict with the needs/interests
of an individual in that group, the group's needs/interests take
There are always individuals that have trouble with that concept,
assuming or demanding that they be the center of the universe, or at
least be catered to. Unless the group is *about you*, any group of size
> 2 is about building a consensus compromise among the members so
things work as well as possible for as many as possible. Any individual
who can't/won't accept that compromise isn't really part of the group,
and is a destructive force on the group.
Some users don't like not being the center of the universe, and
generally blame the admin for having to point out that reality. It's
part of the job. But the primary responsibility of the admin is to make
sure the group flourishes, not that it caters to the needs of every
individual who wants to be part of the group. Not all individuals are
going to fit into the group. that's pure human nature, and making these
groups virtual doesn't change that reality (although we sure tried,
>> server, it doesn't involve the list. Therefore the list owner has no
>> business getting involved;
Baloney. To push an analogy into an unrecognizable form to make a
point, the group admin is the sheepdog; the wolf has just told the
sheepdog had has no right to interfere with his interactions with the
sheep, because the wolf didn't attack the sheepdog directly.
I, as sheepdog, don't particularly care what the wolf's attitude
towards this is. Which tends to piss off the wolves, but I'm only
interested in keeping the sheep happy.
>> When you sign up for something online, how much authority are you
>> granting the person who runs that service? From the majority of the
>> opinions on this issue, the answer seems to be "total authority over
>> everything I send or say".
> No, just over the service provided and the uses to which it is put or
I don't care, as long as you don't cause problems for the group. If you
follow the rules set out for the group, and I don't get complaints,
then things are fine. And under most circumstances, even if you don't
fully follow the rules and I don't get cmoplaints, things are still
fine. But when I start getting complaints....
> There is a poster on that list who emails every list poster with a
> female name proposing sexual dalliances etc. This happens entirely
> off-list, but the messages are (often enough) off-list replies to
> messages. On-list this same member is well behaved and perhaps even
> quality poster.
> Would you kick him off? Why, or why not? He's not doing anything
> offensive on-list after all.
He gets a warning. if it continues, he gets nuked. if it still
continues, I (as sheepdog) go to his isp, his boss, his wife, his CPA,
his lawyer, whatever it takes, as representative of my group of users
to get him to stop, because it's my responsibility to protect them, and
I have an ability to carry the cause of the group, which lends force to
it that a set of individuals can't do.
And on a purely pragmatic level, if my group gets a reputation for
being a place where people are harrassed and abused and nobody does
anything about it -- my group dies. Everyone leaves and goes somewhere
safer. Except the trolls and wolves.
>> If you choose to exercise authority you do not have anyway, that is
>> arbitrary and unfair.
> In almost all cases any decision is preferable to no decision, and
> decisions can be changed.
In all cases the decision of the chosen leader is preferable to leaving
it to random decisions by people who might not be interested in making
the group better. or even care if the group survives.
Someone has to be the mommy. Groups that don't have that tend to turn
into Lord of the Flies, or an empty lecture hall with the doors open to