Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(May 1999)

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Subject: Re: Moderating and off-topic posts
From: John Stevenson <johnstev @ comcen . com . au>
Date: Mon, 3 May 1999 19:39:29 +1000
To: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <>
References: <v03007800b35197f8346a@[]><>

SRE wrote:

>At 08:05 AM 5/3/99 +1200, Olwen Williams wrote:
> >people like it as it is.  One reason for moderating (apart from 
>stopping flame
> >wars) was that many people complained about the level of mail, and the
> >off-topic posts.
>Can you define "moderating"? Reading this thread, it seems that one who
>tries to keep the posts on topic (by pressuring the poster) is sometimes
>considered a moderator. I figure the list is not moderated if a post
>makes it to the subscribers without human approval. Is that what you meant?

I think there are two forms of moderation. 'Active' moderation 
requires the list manager to approve every post that goes to the 
list, while 'passive' moderation involves the list manager stepping 
in to control or stop postings that breach list guidelines. The usual 
sanction for passive moderation is removal from the list of those who 
won't toe the line.

Other comments in this thread have dealt with tightly controlled 
lists. My own list is rather different. In an effort to create a 
[WARNING! ghastly 'Wired' buzzword imminent!] 'virtual community' 
I've allowed lots of discussion that's way off the list's central 
topic (Australian mountain biking, if anyone cares). Since my list 
deals with something that people do for fun, I have deliberately kept 
things informal, stepping in only to kill discussions that are both 
off topic and hugely irritating, such as Mac Vs PC flamefests and 
passings-on of virus warnings.

My main moderation technique when such is needed is a friendly but 
firm email, off the list, to the problem subscriber, followed by 
delisting if they don't get a clue. I'm sure I'm not the only list 
mangler who has found that dealing with list 'discipline' on-list is 
a recipe for disaster.

John Stevenson --
List manager, MTB-OZ

The MTB-OZ FAQ, full of useful and sometimes not so useful 
information, can be found at and at 

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