Olin Lathrop email (remove spam text)
> I wasn't here 15 years ago, but I seem to remember that when I joined
> in 2002, the atmosphere was more free/tolerant. I doubt that
> censorship can restore the PICList to its former, "interesting" state.
I think I joined sometime in 2000. The list was definitely different then.
Take a look at the archives, and you will see most messages were about PICs
and the electronics and physics around them. That's what people come here
to talk about.
Then two things damaged the list. James started getting heavy handed and
more off topic posts were tolerated. As you say, censorship is not the
right answer. In any large group of people, there will always be a little
friction. These things will generally blow over without much fuss if you
just let them. Unfotunately, James never got that. He'd see a little
problem, step in to "fix" it, thereby creating a big problem with much
associated ruckus, then he'd blame the ruckus he causes on the original
small problem. This of course caused him to be more heavy handed, which
caused more big problems, etc. He finally stepped down, but way too late.
As for the off topic posts, that's another mechanism for any group like this
to deteriorate. Some people wanted to talk about other things, and OT was
created and sanctioned for that. That was a big mistake as it started down
the slippery slope of descent into drivel. Of course people being people,
they aren't always good about tagging things properly. For a long time, I
had OT turned off, but now so much real content gets mistagged as OT that
I'd be missing too much if I did that. Unfortunately, that opens the flood
gates to the drivel too. The PIC, EE, and TECH tags are mostly policed,
with Bob doing a particularly good job keeping EE clean. However, keeping
drivel off the intended channels is only half the job. It's just as
important, perhaps even more important, to make sure that the real content
goes to the right channel and not OT. There are too many posters here that
routinely tag legitimate topics with OT, but nobody ever tells them to retag
to EE or PIC or whatever.
The only real solution is to recognize allowing people to talk about off
topics was a mistake. OT should be removed, and the list server should
automatically ignore anything not properly tagged as PIC, EE, or TECH.
Allowing someone to catch untagged posts, tag them, and send them back to
the list is doing everyone a disservice. If someone is too dumb to read the
docs and tag a post or too lazy to care, then we're better off without them..
There does need to be a way to discuss list administration and policy. It's
not what people came here to talk about, but those that "live" here have
opinions on how things should be run and should have the right to kick them
around with other "citizens" and the admins. I think the best way to do
that is with a LIST tag. Usenet recognized this long ago and declared
discussions about the list to always be on topic.
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014. Gold level PIC consultants since 2000
See also: www.piclist.com/techref/index.htm?key=cultural+insensitivities
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