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    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2007 Oct 16, 23:28 -0400

    Recently, it was suggested that I personally should "do something" about
    members of this group who are behaving "badly". So that there is no further
    misunderstanding, this group is not moderated, and I believe that it
    functions best when people decide for themselves how to behave. Call it a
    "laissez faire" approach. On the introductory web page for the group as well
    as on the opening page on the Google groups web interface, I suggest using
    "normal etiquette". I think that covers it.
    
    I don't consider myself the owner of this group, just the current custodian.
    The expression "list owner" is one of those misleading technical terms that
    causes a bit of confusion (a phenomenon any navigation student should be
    very well familiar with). A list "owner" owns nothing. The owner is simply
    the person who first "turned on the lights" and the only power that the
    "owner" has, beyond normal management tasks, is the capability to turn the
    lights back off when we're finished with the service. Other than that, my
    role is merely that of a technical manager. I help people when email
    bounces. I help with spam issues. I transfer subscriptions from one email
    address to another when people ask. Dan Allen is also a list manager.
    Additionally, in an unrelated role, I maintain the list archive at fer3.com
     --on my own time, at my own expense.
    
    Regarding rude posts and comments on members' character, from my own
    personal point of view having spent years online, I can assure you that such
    posts don't do any good simply because they muddy and sully whatever point
    you're trying to make. That does not mean that you have to agree with other
    people on content. We will of course continue to disagree with one another
    on some matters of content, and those discussions often lead to the most
    interesting threads. On a very general level, it's worth remembering that we
    are all just "text" when we participate in these discussions. The text that
    you see in a message is all that you have to go on, but sometimes people
    look for underlying motivations. Imagined motives create all sorts of
    misunderstandings. Read the words of these messages just as they are
    written. Avoid the temptation to read between the lines.
    
    One NavList member suggested that Dan Hogan (the previous manager for those
    of you who joined within the past 16 months) would have done things
    differently. This is simply untrue. Dan Hogan never intervened in any
    discussions, and he treated the group with very much the same "laissez
    faire" policy that I use. Why? Because if you've ever done this before (I
    have several times) you discover that it's really the only way to go with an
    unmoderated group. Oh, and like me, Dan Hogan was also aware that he was
    "owner" in name only. In fact, that first sentence of the second paragraph
    above: "I don't consider myself the owner... just the custodian"...  are his
    words from a couple of years ago. In the common sense of the concept of
    "ownership", this group is either owned by no one, or it is owned by its
    membership.
    
    SOME SPECIFIC COMMENTS ON POSTS FROM LAST WEEK:
    It seems a shame that I have to say this, but it is necessary: no member of
    this group should worry about threats of libel suits (with the usual obvious
    exceptions... like attacking someone's money-making business or accusing
    someone of criminal activity). I do suspect that when George wrote that post
    he was simply venting frustration and would probably retract it if he could.
    I understand your frustration, George.
    
    In a couple of posts Peter said that George had no business criticizing
    Bennett's book since George had never created anything in a similar
    category. This is a fallacious argument. Proof? Look no further than the
    nearest newspaper for the movie review column. It is quite possible to be a
    talented reviewer and critic without ever making a single film. Likewise,
    any of us can write a review of a navigation book even if we haven't written
    one. That said, movie reviewers whose reviews are always negative quickly
    become irrelevant an tiresome.
    
    Peter, at one point in a message, you told George that he "should get a
    life". I want to thank you for reminding me of the early days of the online
    world. I haven't heard that "lame" expression in such a long time... But
    really, Peter, the reason it's lame is because it's a case of the pot
    calling the kettle black. Let's face it: we're all a bunch of navigation
    geeks who spend way too much time playing with sight reduction tables and
    then chatting about them online. So Peter, get a life! And if you find a
    good one, let me know, so I can get one, too. :-)
    
    In short, as a list member, I recommend using "normal etiquette" when
    posting online. And don't read between the lines.
    
     -FER
    
    
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