Email lists have become a way of groups to communicate and share ideas. Most of the time it works well and sometimes it becomes a war zone that needs a disciplined and constant level headed and sober administrator who does not condone taking sides to properly moderate and direct constructive conversations.
In the recent cases use of abusive or racist words towards respondents and or contributors may be rated as the highest reason for dismissals from mailing lists, this may also go for those who are known to post offensive comments on blog posts because they don’t support activities of a particular organization.
A recent such case of temporary dismissal was featured in an internet governance email forum where a subscriber a Mr. Suresh Subramanian was suspended for misconduct and not heading the moderators pleas to use acceptable decorum in his posts.
This came to light after one of the subscribers made an appeal to have “SRS” restored. One of the members who seconded the action said “ I fully support [the moderators] decision re temporary banning Suresh from this list and continued Whether or not a member of this caucus contributes “actual, productive Internet governance in the technical community” seems pretty irrelevant for the assessment of the communication style of this member “
The moderator of the list said “For the record, Suresh was not removed for his ideas but was removed for the manner in which he attacked one member.” Since the contributor used vocabulary that attacked the contributor personally rather than spur any conversations.
These particular members criticisms do not only end on email but have also appeared on blogs.
It’s clear that certain style of communication is important as it may make the list almost redundant and not useful as initially intended as in the case of the AfriCANN list where controversial emails only targeted in attacking contributors have always dominated the list.
This is exemplified by one contributor who continued to say “I have more or less given up contributing to these debates not only because I dislike this macho “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” approach but also because following these endless repetitions of the same arguments is very very tiresome.”
Although by no comparison the Governance list can be considered extremely useful and involved with current practical issues that affect daily developments of the internet plus has rules of engagement clearly defined, by no comparison to my recent coverage of AfriICANN’s list, which has no rules of engagement neither useful discussions.
Another member of the AfrICANN list went ahead to vent his disappointment as a result of negative emails saying “I really post on this list since it is one of my “read-only” lists. However, I must confess these recent threads were initially amusing but now I they have become bandwidth consuming (not good). ” He continued to emphasize that if he could remember his password he could actually unsubscribe
In the interim development, Suresh was finally restored to the mailing list after appeals and review of the standing principles; this also came with a stern reminder that unacceptable behavior will not be tolerated. This means that henceforth, all subscribers will need to correspond and discus issues while observing stated netiquette.
Its clear that this list need to maintain its sobriety of conversation and will go to all lengths to root out any perceived negative energy that disrupts constructive dialog.