A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
Re: An experimental Navigation List
From: Frank Reed CT
Date: 2006 Apr 11, 22:09 EDT
From: Frank Reed CT
Date: 2006 Apr 11, 22:09 EDT
This is a "meta" post. I SINCERELY APOLOGIZE for it, but I think I have to reply to this one. By the way, if you're unfamiliar with the expression meta-discussion (or you think it's new to this list), I highy recommend this definition and discussion of meta-discussion: http://www.fitz-claridge.com/node/18 Though this excellent account does not say so, technical difficulties are one case where I think meta-discussion is inevitable, though it's certainly still annoying. George H, you wrote: "Is the proposal for a "breakaway" list the result of a consensus, or a bit of one-man opportunism?" Let me start off by saying that there is no opportunism unless there is valuable property on the line. List "ownership" is a very peculiar usage of the word ownership since the owner gets nothing of value. While some list "owners" imagine themselves to be powerful, in reality, a list owner, or list manager, has almost no power. A list owner cannot stop spam. A list owner cannot prevent abusive postings. A list owner cannot ban any person from posting to a list (e-mail addresses can be banned, but in the present Internet e-mail addresses are free and easy to create as often as needed so this address banning capability is mostly useless). A list owner DOES have some basic responsibilities that are more nuisance than anything else: the owner has to reply to e-mails from people confused by their e-mail software, and the owner has to deal with technical problems as they arise. The only circumstance where a list owner has any real power is when the list is converted into a moderated list (on a moderated list messages do not distribute unless and until they are approved). This is an enormous amount of work and a sure way to kill any non-mission-critical (a.k.a. "just for fun") discussion group. So where do good Internet communities come from then? Why is most of the discussion on Navigation-L civil and interesting? It's because the list members are good people, and they have a shared interest in the topic. That's all it takes. Having said this, I will admit that there is an "impression" of authority that goes with the title of list owner, and as I said right away, in the initial post about NavList, I would be happy to see distributed ownership of the list (three to five people maybe?). In fact, if it's not too complicated to make it work, I don't give a damn whether I am included in that group or not. I also would have no problem transfering ownership to one person (Dan Hogan? Is this still an "authority" you want?), but I suggest a group of managers simply because people sleep and go on vacation and on an active list, it's good to have somebody watching for problems 24/7. You also wrote: "If our discussion group needs reconfiguring (and it may) then the way to do it is via round-table discussion" I notice you have referred to it as "our" group rather than Dan's group. This is actually part of what I was getting at when I said above that list "ownership" is a strange usage of the word. Nobody really "owns" the list. As for round-table discussions, sheesh, how would you decide anything? Who gets to participate in said discussions? Whose opinions matter more? How would you vote on it? Some people enjoy long negotiations to decide who's going to pick up litter in their neighborhoods. Some people write letters to the mayor. Some write letters to the local newspaper. Some post rants in their blogs. Me, I'm the sort of person who gets out a bag and picks up the trash. Somebody's gotta do it. You also wrote: " Whatever admirable qualities Frank may possess, they do not include the diplomacy, self-restraint, conciliation that would be called for in whoever acts as mediator for a list such as ours. It would be a bit like putting John McEnroe in charge of World Tennis." And: "It reminds me of the situation that occurs from time to time in a third-world African republic. The President flies to Zurich for hospital treatment, and in his absence, his rival calls on the Palace Guard, raising his banner and crying "follow me". Next thing, the runway is blocked against his return. With Frank in charge, I fear it would be like playing a game of street football, when the other side owns the ball." George, that's the best example I've seen in a long time of how to start an Internet flamewar. Now... for my part, I'm going to demonstrate the best way to end an Internet flamewar. I realize some of you may not want to see this, so I'll leave a few blank lines here and make you scroll down to see it... . . . . [keep scrolling] . . . . [still scrolling??] . . . . [almost there] . . . . What??? You were expecting gasoline??
-FER 42.0N 87.7W, or 41.4N 72.1W. www.HistoricalAtlas.com/lunars