Dealing with unnecessary activities [Re: Address of ISO 3166 mailinglist]

Harald Tveit Alvestrand harald at
Thu Jun 5 13:43:45 CEST 2003


--On torsdag, juni 05, 2003 06:24:29 +0100 William Overington 
<WOverington at> wrote:

> Also, recently there was a moderator comment which stated as follows.
>> If you have nothing to contribute to the specific discussion at hand, I
> recommend that you do not waste the time of the mailing list readers.
> I thought that first the following question should have been asked and an
> opportunity provided for an answer to be provided.
> "Do you feel that your posts contribute to the specific discussion at hand
> and, if so, could you please explain your reasons for so thinking?"

the more pertinent question for the moderator to ask would be:
"do the posts contribute to the purpose for which the list was created?"

And this is NOT something where the poster is the authority; unfortunately, 
I've dealt with a number of people who were quite sure they were 
contributing to the purpose they thought the list should have, but were 
definitely not contributing to the stated purpose of the list.

Generally, IETF-related lists tend to be fairly lax in their moderation 
practices. When in doubt, posting is permitted; when something gets 
seriously out of hand, the first step is usually admonishing the poster who
offends, not more drastic steps like suspending posting rights.

Some people mistake laxness in enforcement for implicit blessing for 
whatever objectionable activity they want to undertake - the IETF 
discussion list, ietf at, has had a recent spate of this.
This often leads to some people leaving the list, or to some need for 
rather drastic moderation activity. Not comfortable.

As to another mostly-irrelevant topic........

> I also wondered whether the country where the comment was made is a
> signatory of the European Convention of Human Rights.  Such documents are
> not just bits of paper for lawyers to discuss at seminars!

you mean the document that says (article 10):

>Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. this right shall include 
>freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information an ideas 
>without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This 
>article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of 
>broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
>The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and 
>responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, 
>restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a 
>democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial 
>integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for 
>the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation 
>or the rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information 
>received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality 
>of the judiciary.

This is from

I don't think the moderator of a privately held mailing list can be 
considered "public authority" - but if it were, I think list moderation 
could fall under "prevention of disorder"......

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