Re: FW: Liblicense-l: rules of the road

From: Arthur Sale <ahjs_at_OZEMAIL.COM.AU>
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2008 11:27:53 +1100

Dear moderator

Can we please regard this subject as closed? I don't want to waste my time
on any more of this. I note that Sally's posting violates even Rule 3 she
quotes. As far as I am concerned it is all noise and no signal.


-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
Behalf Of Sally Morris (Morris Associates)
Sent: Thursday, 23 October 2008 10:09 PM
Subject: [AMERICAN-SCIENTIST-OPEN-ACCESS-FORUM] FW: Liblicense-l: rules of
the road

Here's a set of 'rules' for another email discussion forum, one which I
personally think is moderated in an exemplary fashion


(Forwarding with Ann's permission)

Sally Morris
Consultant, Morris Associates (Publishing Consultancy)
South House, The Street
Clapham, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3UU, UK
Tel: +44(0)1903 871286
Fax: +44(0)8701 202806
-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Okerson, Ann
Sent: 23 October 2008 00:15
Subject: Liblicense-l: rules of the road

Dear Readers: A couple of individuals have asked if liblicense-l
has any "rules of the road" for moderation. I've tried to set
them down, and here they are. Comments? Thank you, Ann


liblicense-l: Rules of the Road

The hallmark of liblicense-l for many years has been its mix of
current information of high value to librarians and publishers
and friends, with serious and spirited discussion of issues that
engage, perplex, and divide us. The moderator participates but
hopes that the moderating hand is mainly invisible. But even if
invisible, it is still active, seeking to keep the list valuable
as a place for both information and discussion.

First rule: If we can possibly post a submitted message, it will
be posted, as soon as possible (usually this happens in the
evenings), timing adjusted perhaps by professional travel and
responsibilities, quirky networks, and the occasional balky
laptop. We're not fond of censors and have no ambition to take
on that role.

Second rule: Tedium is tedious, so if there's a choice, messages
are preferred to be shorter rather than longer. Once in a while
if a message seems too long to sustain attention or promote
conversation, we will ask the poster to shorten or perhaps point
to a URL for fuller discussion.

Third rule: Embarrassment is embarrassing and unpleasantness is
unpleasant. If threads linger to the point where the posters
lose perspective and the signal to noise ratio falls near zero,
we will stop a conversation discreetly, perhaps by a note, as
kindly as possible, to one or two posters.

Fourth rule: Insults are unnecessary, so we try to ask posters
to restate something if only heat and not light will result.
(We do sometimes occasionally miss a potential source of affront,
and apologies for that.) This does mean recognizing the
personalities and styles of the regular posters, in particular,
and not thwarting their evident pleasure in thwacking away at
each other a bit with cushiony oversize boxing mitts. A bit of
that may liven things up.

Fifth rule: Nobody makes money here. Publisher announcements
are posted when they seem to be of genuine interest to the
readers here - e.g., announcing a very important piece of
business, a new kind of partnership, a business model, or an
ambitious project. Single announcements of individual new titles
or new hires rarely meet that test of interest.

Sixth rule: We all agree we dislike monopolies, so when there is
risk of a poster monopolizing the conversation, we write to that
person to ask for some restraint.

Seventh rule: The Web is an even more wondrous place when we
check URLs first to be sure they're working. Even then, the URL
doesn't always work, though.

Eighth rule: Vanilla ASCII "RULES." Sometimes evenings are
spent reformatting, word by word, messages that, unfortunately,
don't arrive as plain text -- provided such messages are readable
at the moderator end; often they are not and must be returned to
the sender. The Listproc software garbles non-ASCII text, html
formatting, or attachments to some extent or totally, which means
that it is a kindness to the moderator when posters send
ASCII-only. (No "smart quotes", no em-dashes or en-dashes, no
umlauts or accents.) Why use listproc? Because many of our
subscribers are in countries where internet access doesn't permit
easy receipt of fancy or complicated messages. Sometimes,
character by character cleanup (not fun, believe me) doesn't work
and gibberished messages go get to the list, so we go back to the
archive to clean up the =20 and =93 signs that have crept in.
That's not fun, either, but we do it.

Ninth rule: Do all the previous message in the thread need to be
included with your response? Often, the answer is NO. It's a
different kindness to readers when posters (or the moderator) cut
out some of the repetition that occurs when a thread goes on and
mailers append sixteen earlier messages (with all their signature
blocks!) to the new one that reads in full, "I agree with what
Smedley wrote."

Tenth rule: What happens on liblicense-l stays in the
liblicense-l archive, which is linked off the LIBLICENSE web site
( We have only taken 3 messages
out of the archive in 12 years, when pressed for legal reasons,
and none for other requests.

Eleventh rule: The "lib" in liblicense-l is pronounced with a
long "I" as in "library."

Twelfth rule: The above rules may be modified on occasion!

Thank you for your interest, help, and support.

Received on Fri Oct 24 2008 - 03:30:26 BST

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