On Thursday, May 31, 2001, at 10:17 AM, Paul Hoffman / IMC wrote:
How does this relate to what we allow and don't allow on our lists?
I research it.
- cut off the discussion as being off topic,
what I do depends on what I find. If it's a hoax, I cut off discussion, explain the hoax, tell everyone that if they passed it along, pass along that it was a hoax, and usually publically flog the person who did it.
If it's not a hoax, it depends on the situation. but usually, I'll affirm it's a legitimate problem and tell people to take it offline as off-topic, and remind folks this stuff doesn't belong on the list and where to get the information if it's needed. And privately chastise the person for posting it. In some circumstances, I have reinforced the warning, if I felt the virus was particularly nasty or needed to be discussed further -- but that's something a list admin should make a decision on, not a list member. Admins (at least in theory) know when to suspend the rules because of extenuating circumstances....
Once it's brought up, it has to be dealt with in some way. If it's a hoax, I think it's important to break the loop in terms of getting members to stop forwarding it. If it's not a hoax, I have to evaluate what impact it might have on my users and deal with that, even if it's not strictly on-topic. Since my lists can't forward viruses, in general, my impact on them is minimal, but if this latest thing appeared on a list, it's possible for users to do harm to themselves by falsely believing the hoax, and so more followup and education would be needed.
I think one way to sidetrack these problems is education -- so when they do come up, I try to discuss how these things SHOULD be handled. Sometimes, I think they even listen a bit.
Chuq Von Rospach, Internet Gnome <http://www.chuqui.com>
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The first rule of holes: If you are in one, stop digging.