[PLUG] Mailing list issues

Sudhanwa Jogalekar sudhanwa.com at gmail.com
Mon Dec 31 09:38:01 PST 2012


Hi,

Some Pluggies are having some issues with the mailing list and are
raising those issues on the list.

I have been on the mailing list almost from the beginning and seen all
the transitions of the same.

Here are some points that I remember/know and will be useful for all
to understand how things work on the mailing list.

Right from the beginning, the identities of people handling the
webmaster and mailing list administration/moderation function was not
disclosed. This was not a hard and fast rule as such, but was accepted
by all. This was kept to avoid any possible connection between a
person and the function. As far as I know, this is taken very
seriously till date and identities of people are not disclosed. At the
same time, all the people handling the function are completely
unbiased while executing their role. No personal opinion is/was added
by them anytime.  Please be assured of that.  eg. If a mail-admin's
close friend has sent a mail and is stuck up in filters/moderation, it
will be taken care of in due course of time just like all other mails
and it will be released/rejected on the merit of the content and not
because the poster is a good friend.

Initially, the mailing list was running on a live server from our
well-wishers/supporters namely Codito (that was the last name of the
company when we migrated away from their server). As the bandwidth was
costly and the server was exposed much due to the mailing list, to be
more secure and avoid bandwidth misuse, filters were added to the
mailing list. These were essentially to protect from spam and to
channelise proper content on the list. Over the years, the filters
grew as more and more people started spamming and sending
silly/irrelevant queries on the list.

After the last server crash, we lost all the archives and then
migrated to a virtual hosting that we are currently using. The mailing
list was setup again, whatever the filter rules were known, those were
added and things started moving slowly. This was another time for
spams and many mails usually floated like invites from social
networks, Chinese vendors offering goods, lottery winnings etc etc.
Due to this, more and more filters got added to the list.

As more newbies got added, it became pain to see all their violations
like top postings and  irrelevant queries. So, moderation bit was
added by default for every new list member. In any case, new members
were supposed to be on the list for some time, understand what is
happening and then start posting to the list. The typical time frame
for this was about a month or so. After that, the new member was
supposed to send mail to admins to remove the moderation for them.
Well, as usual, very few people really understood this and became
unhappy about it. Unfortunately, the unhappy trend still continues.

There is a lot of discussion happening about moderation. People do see
moderation in their own perspectives. On the PLUG mailing list, it is
a practice that the mail will either reach to the list as_it_is (that
means without any moderation/editing) or else, if it gets stuck due to
filters, it will be seen by moderators and will be passed through or
rejected/discarded depending on the context of the mail content) Some
people feel that the mail getting stuck because of filters itself
means moderation. We lost our dear friend (Late) Keneth Gonsalves
because of this from the list as he believed in complete openness of
the list. So, it is your choice to say the list is moderated or not
moderated. For sure, whatever the poster says will go untouched to the
list (if it passes through filters/rules set up)

There are cases when people are subscribed to the list using one
particular id and post to the list using some other id. Obviously, the
mail will get stuck up as it is sent from a non-member. It then gets
rejected and the person feels "insulted" and sends mail back to me
and/or mods/admins demanding some explanation. Sorry to say that very
few people do read the message sent by the mailman when their mail is
stuck up and also when they are sent a response during rejection. My
own mails get stuck up many times (especially the forwarded ones.
Latest example was of forwarded mail from ilugD about Raj Mathur).
However, I do not take this personally and move on to my other work.
Let the moderator take its own time to clear the mail or reject it. If
at all, there is something real urgent and the mail needs to be sent
NOW, I do use my privilege of having the moderator rights and clear it
from the filter queue. But it is really a rare case. I don't
understand why the posters are so touchy about their mails being stuck
up and waiting for release.

I don think there is any mailing list that is without any filters
setup. If you are on some other lists and do not see any invite
message from any social networking sites or some spam from some
Russian or Chinese email ids, be assured that there are filters on the
list. (You may call it moderated or un-moderated, it is your choice)
This is true even after having proper spam filters that filter out
most of the spam mails like selling drugs, winning lotteries and so
on.

Apart from a very few people on the list who are raising questions
about the mailing list, I have not come across anyone who is raising
the issue.

Well, it is upto the mailing list members to decide how the list
should work. If majority feels that it should be more open, let it be.
If all the filters and moderation bits are removed and the list
becomes completely open, I will be the happiest person as I will not
have to take any blames/bashing from anyone for things that I never
did, and/or was nowhere related to the activities. I have been facing
that blaming/bashing for more than 10 years now so as to keep the
integrity, confidentiality of the things.

Wishing you all a Very Happy New Year.

Regards
-Sudhanwa

-- 

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