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Re: Moderation

One of the harsh realities of living on the net is the need to defend one's
mailbox against unwanted commercial postings.  Moderated mail-lists are a
very effective way to focus discussion on a given subject area.
It is common for low-to-moderate volume lists which desire a high
information content to employ a moderator, when a willing person is willing
to serve the onerous burden of being redactor.  The position is quite
similar the role of the editor of a newspaper's letters to the editor
column, but without the restriction of limited column-inches.
I very much doubt that the present moderators have had occasion to reject
any material, in fact there have been recent pleas for more.  Further, I
would not assume silence to indicate a moderator's disagreement with a
submission, more likely it indicates failure of transport, and warrants
either a polite "did you get my.." or a simple resubmission.  These should
be rare events, barring hardware difficulties.
I for one see no reason to change the present moderated status of this
list.  I believe we need to keep whatever experts we can attract by
defending them from trivia.
I would ask those of you who would argue otherwise to consider the traffic
on Usenet mailgroups as an example of a total lack of moderation.  Few
groups ever achieve high info content, and most authorities hesitate to
waste time reading the news at semester's beginning.  Most of the serious
programmers I know reserve their news reading time for the summer, after the
sophmores have gone home.
Dana S. Emery, Computer Specialist
Smithsonian Institution
Laboratory of Molecular Systematics
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, MD  20746
(301) 238-3444     (voice)
(301) 238-3059     (fax)
emery@onyx.si.edu  (internet)

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