I've calmed down now.

Nick Rothwell (nick@cassiel.com)
29 Mar 1999 15:48:18 -0000

Apologies to all involved for the rant a few days ago. It had been an
extremely hassle-laden week.

As I've said, I've seen a number of mailing lists and online resources
go down the tubes over the years; three of the major music/technology
lists got decimated by one individual in the space of a few months
(readers of the MAX list will know the events I refer to, and the
repercussions). In most cases, danger signs include excessively chatty
off-topic postings, mind viruses (like the one here) and any
discussion involving Free Speech (which is a little tedious to some of
us who do not have it as a right). As far as I'm concerned, USEnet has
been little more than an enormous smoking crater for the last five
years or so, apart from the strictly moderated groups; groups which do
not go into moderation simply cease to be useful due to the volume of
irrelevant cross-postings, spams and random banal chit-chat.

As Jeff points out, the original message here would have been of some
relevance, had it not been a well-known hoax. As always, it's down to
the moderator to decide how much slack to cut in each case. (Do we now
discuss the UK Government's plans to outlaw encryption and digital
signature technology, or our telecomms industries' restrictive
practices wrt. high-speed networking? How about China's restrictions
on computer use, and the effect on Chinese choreographers?) The odd
barely-relevant article is fine, but if everyone decided to post one
at the same time the signal-to-noise ratio would go through the floor,
causing enough permanent unsubscriptions to keep it there.

As it is, I'm more than happy with Scott's moderation policies
here. It's just that some messages push the wrong buttons with
me. When you've seen them a few dozen times they have that
effect. And, rants apart, I still maintain that a topic-focussed
mailing list is not the place for general discussion of news and
events, no matter how significant they may be. If they're important,
the readership should be sufficiently motivated to get the information
from more definitive sources.

Since I've rendered this message itself off-topic, I'll stop.


Nick Rothwell Cassiel.com Limited nick@cassiel.com www.cassiel.com software - electronic sound media - performance