Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(March 1999)

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Subject: Being a good list owner
From: Michelle Dick <artemis @ rahul . net>
Date: Wed, 03 Mar 99 13:26:50 -0800
To: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <>

Paul wrote:
> Unless a list-owner is backed by virtually all his subscribers,
> his list can get dragged into for-profit policy questions.  It is too bad
> if individuals interested in Tibetan music cannot close themselves to
> advertizements.  To prevent their discussions getting infilterated; to not
> have to face the the problem of getting quoted somewhere.  Sheesh.

Well a list owner probably can't prevent quotation (fair use), but it
can be minimized by appropriate list policies (i.e. not allowing any
republication of the posting collection).

But aside from copyright and other legal issues, backing by the
subscribers is important.  Being open and honest and clear about how,
where, when,if at all, the posting collection will be used can make
the list a better one.  And minimize disgruntled list subscribers who
assumed something incorrect.

In my case, I asked my list subscribers for input on the forms of
advertising and affiliate programs that should be assoicated with the
web archives for the list.  A bookstore was set up and though I was
going to go with Barnes and Noble, the subscribers unanimously wanted, so that's whom we have.  They were informed when
advertising banners went into effect.  And the note in the charter sent to
new members that asked for donations was changed to say that the list
is financially supported through web advertising on the archive pages
and through affiliate programs.  (In addition to statements concerning
copyright ownership and usage).  And a special passworded member-only
web area was set up with no advertising and special features just for
list members. 

None of this is legally necessary, but I feel it is ethically
necessary and meets my vision of how a good list should be run.

p.s. one problem with authorizing publication rights to third parties
is that I give up the ability to let my subscribers know how their
words and contributions will be presented.

p.p.s.  one neat thing that happened was that a new subscriber raised
political objections to  I normally don't allow meta
discussion on the list, but so as not to appear biased, I let it pass.
In response, the list members replied privately (some cc-ing me) to
the poster explaining how was chosen and why it was added
(to remove the need for donations).  There was no public discussion as
a result, the poster is still around and posting on topic now, and I
am blessed that the list subscribers support me so.  I also have
renewed interest in the care and feeding of the list, which had begun
to wane after 6 years of running it.

Michelle Dick       East Palo Alto, CA
          Owner, FATFREE Vegetarian Mailing List

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