Wednesday, October 27, 2010

just got banned from a list serve

Here's my first post since I re-located from France. My new job has been so time consuming I haven't yet found the time to write--but I just got really worked up about a list serve I've been on for years, and so I decided to skip my run and make a stand. I'd really like to keep this from getting personal against the moderators, so I'm not going to say who did this--but here's how I see the sequence of events leading to me getting banned:
  • the list, as I understood it, was created primarily as a forum for users to discuss ideas and experience reports, as well as get periodic updates to the products
  • about weekly, the list owners sent announcements
  • a relatively new member of the list asked if the quantity of 'product update' messages could be reduced   

This resulted in a really defensive note saying that the product updates were not spam, followed shortly by a lot of disagreement from various members of the list. Rather than acknowledging the disagreement, the moderators came out with the following statements:

Premise - This mailing list is the Official <X> group.
The <X> Team moderates and organizes this group.

We had a serious look at whether we should continue the group’s activity.
...The fact remains that this is the Official group of <X> and the <X> Team must be free to put forth any message it wishes; whether it be relating to events, courses or products. It may also decide to not send this sort of message at all.
But considering that this list is run and organized by the <X> Team the final decision lays with the <X> Team and not the members on the list.

If the participants in the group do not appreciate the messages that are being issued or the policies chosen for sending the messages, they have two choices;
(1) show their disapproval by sending an email to the group’s moderator or
(2) leave the group.
These are the group’s rules.

Any behaviour contrary to the rules means that the person will be automatically removed from the group.  <X> are the moderators of this list and we will ensure the rules set out by this group are obeyed.
If you partecipate in this group you know you will receive messages about news, events, courses, products related to the <X>. (As is clearly stated in this group’s welcome message)
Should you for any reason consider our rules and policies to be spam, just leave this group. We are obviously incompatible.
Do you think this group should be different? Create one yourselves.
Should you wish to create your own non-official <X> group, you will nevertheless still have our help.
...We consider this issue closed, any off-topic message must from this point on be sent to one of the moderators following the group’s rules.

Keep in mind that the spam doesn't bother me enough to leave the group... so I stayed. Yet the hierarchical, dogmatic attitude above does bother me. So I wrote to the moderators, off-list, saying that I think the quantity of spam notes (20 this month) is hurting the list.

Then I started wondering what would happen if they tore the list down, so I sent the following, which seems to have gotten me banned:

<X>To avoid more spam we are considering closing this group... 

Hi all, if they do close this list serve, please move your discussion over to<X>

If you sign up now, it will make a strong statement that _this_ list serve is owned by us, not by a company.

Now I'm waiting for them to respond by linking to the user group from their web site. I'm not holding my breath, though.

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