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#1946: New list policies aimed at greater civility of exchange
Folks, as most of you know I have always had a policy that I would
not accept posts which attacked a list member (as list member, as
opposed to say, journlist or politician). I've often asked members
to revise posts for this reason.
However, I have only been modestly strict, even lax in this policy.
Because of recent complaints which I've reviewed and which have convinced
that me I need to address the issue, I am going to inforce that policy
with much greater rigor in the future and to extend it. The complaints
have shown that some posters have evaded my rule by subtle references
to general groups which fairly clearly refer to previous posters
on this list. And futher, attacks on the list itself, which quite a few
have taken as ways of attacking them personally.
The original purpose of the list stands: to exchange news, views,
discussion and inquiry concerning issues which directly affect Haiti
and Haitians (as Haitians, and not as Caribbeans, or world citizens,
or people of color or whatever else, but as Haitians). there have been very
few posts in all the five years of this list that did that and were
rejected unless there was a personal attack in the post on a list member.
I do recall a few, but it must be fewer than a dozen in five years that
I thought were simply too offensive to post, probably not a half
dozen. I'm very liberal when it comes to tolerating IDEAS, but not
very tolerant in accepting personal attacks on particular persons who
express their ideas on the list.
I will still allow all posts in those areas about any ideas. Unlike
much of the world of modern political correctness and speech policing,
I tend to hold a very libertarian view much like John Stuart Mill's
which believes the best way to deal with false ideas is to give good
reasons why they are false, rather than suppressing their expression.
That policy applies, for me, to professions of ideas and claims of
But, when it comes to the expression of disapproval of persons for
having expressed an idea, that I will not accept and will much more
forcefully inforce that rule, applying it to direct name calling and
preaching to persons (the sort of thing that says you should do this and
you should noy do that...) and now including the indirect attacking of
persons on the list and attacking the list itself (since it is merely
the sum of its members). Attack ideas -- no problem. Leave list
In the past, as I said, I had the policy and enforced it, but very
hesitantly and almost always writing the person and explaining what
I objected to and trying to negotiate a version I would accept.
I just don't have time to bother with that. Posts that attack persons
will simply be deleted by me. I don't have time to argue with people
about it. As moderator the responsibility is mine to take and I simply
am announcing the policy as clearly as I can figure how to announce it.
We are really growing! More and more people inside Haiti are list members
and we are over the 850 mark now, soon to be approaching 900 members.
within a week or so we will have over 2000 posts in the "new" system
of last summer. I've write about that when we hit the 2000th post.
I'm sorry if this policy makes some unhappy. I fully believe in the
open exchange of ideas, but believe that exchange needs to be carried
out in an aura of civility and mutual respect even for those professing
ideas we think are totaly wrongheaded and even hiddeous. Just make
a good argument to show the argument is a bad one and leave the person
making the argument out of it. that's what I'm asking. MOre than
asking, that's what I'm make a condition for posting on this list.
Best, Bob Corbett