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Subject: Re: Top Posting/ Bottom Posting

Re: Top Posting/ Bottom Posting

From: Christopher Chaltain <>
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 2009 20:52:09 -0500

One more thought I had on this thread was that we sometimes talk about
this issue and this mailing list as if it were somehow unique, but I'm
not so sure about that. I'm on another list where it's gone on moderated
status a few times in the last year because posters insist on talking
about off topic issues and arguing with the moderators when they try to
get the list back on topic. On another list, someone just got tossed off
the list because he got belligerent with the moderators when they
wouldn't put a stop to off topic posting. I've left at least three lists
because there was more off topic or flame wars on those lists than there
was worthwhile information.

I guess some may think my point is that we should just skip the list
guidelines all together and let this list fall into a state of anarchy
since it's a losing battle anyway, but that actually isn't my point.
Just because it's hard doesn't mean we shouldn't try and two wrongs
don't make a right or something like that. I think list rules are
important and people should follow them or work within the guidelines to
get them changed. We also need to realize that the internet is made up
of all types, and not everyone is going to read the manual or the list
guidelines before posting. For the occasional offense, we should remind
them and move on. For repeated offenses, more drastic measures could be
taken. When people are reminded about the guidelines they shouldn't feel
insulted or offended, they should try to do better in the future and
work within the guidelines to change them, if they want to.

I used the analogy earlier of being asked to take off my shoes when I
enter someone's house. It would seem rude to argue with them instead of
just taking off my shoes. BTW, I don't think I was the first person to
use this analogy on this list! The flaw, or at least one flaw, in this
analogy is that I can choose who I invite and don't invite into my
house. On the internet, we don't have that choice, so we need to go out
of our way to be more tolerant and understanding. This also goes both
ways. We obviously shouldn't be belligerent, but we also shouldn't read
belligerence in where it wasn't intended. Sometimes this happens because
of language differences, sometimes terseness leads us to read between
the lines and sometimes we just don't realize that what was said was
said with a smile and not a scowl. I'm not perfect, but I try to go out
of my way to soften whatever I say on the internet, and when I think
someone has offended me, I try to think of other things they might have
meant or whether I'm reading something into the message that just wasn't
there. There are also plenty of times when I'll just hit the delete key
and go on because after all what does it really matter what one person
in a billion thinks?

Received on 2009-06-24

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