[extropy-chat] Appropriate List Content - was Malachy's Prophecies; Pope John Paul II, then two before the destruction of the Holy Roman Church

Hal Finney hal at finney.org
Tue Apr 5 18:45:43 UTC 2005

I don't agree that telling people to ignore posts they don't like is
a good way of dealing with the question of what is on or off topic.
A list is like a garden; you can't just ignore the weeds, or soon you
will find that they have taken over.  There is also an online version
of Say's Law ("bad money drives out good"): bad postings drive out good.

Most people read the list without filtering and as long as this is true,
if they see a bunch of postings that they are not interested in, they
won't enjoy their subscription.  Someone who just joined the list and
wants to get a sense of its flavor will judge it by the most common
postings.  If they see a lot of junk, they will turn around and leave.

I don't think the corrective mechanism should be a matter of banning
people, unless they consistently show that they can't contribute material
acceptable to the list.  A simple objection, followed by comment and
discussion, like what we are having now, is the appropriate mechanism.

I am confident that as a result of this ongoing discussion we will not
see further postings about the prophecies regarding the Pope, other than
as a phenomenon that provides insight into the sociological phenomenon
of religion, its hold on people, and what that means for our own goals
and dreams.

That's how lists like these work.  There is a constant flux and dynamic;
people come and go, issues rise and disappear.  Corrective mechanisms
and feedback are an important part of keeping a mailing list and online
community healthy and focussed.


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