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Moderation update

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Fri Aug 14 1998 - 19:16:14 PDT

Dear Members,

Here is the final status on the Moderation idea,
based on feedback from members.

The last thing I want is for people to feel that
their opinions or ideologies are being censored.
In fact, one of my main goals behind moderation
was for a friendly atmosphere to prevail, without
any hiccups.  This, I believed and still believe,
makes it easier for meeker voices to be heard,
without fear of being shouted away.  

Unfortunately, I am not yet a person who engenders
universal trust among our members.  It is clear
that a few members are not convinced that I will
uphold my word to be fair and impartial, cutting 
out not content but abuse.  This is disheartening 
to me, particularly since some of this sentiment 
comes from people who have known me for several
years, but I respect these feelings, as they are a 
result primarily of my own shortcomings.

As a result, I will no longer moderate any posts, 
with the following exceptions; these too, I will do 
only time permitting.

  (a) I will request members who are planning to 
      post a planned series to space them out
      over several days.

  (b) I will occasionally reformat posts which
      are typed without line-breaks, or which have
      extraneous garbage characters

  (c) I will remove encoded/binary data from posts

  (d) I will reject, after informing the poster,
      completely irrelevant posts -- these include
      advertisements for money-making offers, posts
      about nuclear proliferation that make absolutely
      no reference to religion, etc. 

The last is the only content-based intervention I will
perform.  I hope members trust me in this small respect.

Finally, a note regarding taniyans and format:

Over half of our members receive the Digest form of the
Bhakti email.  It is only with these people in mind that
I had requested two posters to cut short their acharya
taniyans / salutations at the beginning of every post,
since it decreases readability, rendering the actual
content of their messages and the Digest as a whole less
comprehensible.  Those who do not receive the daily Digest 
really don't know the patience that is required to go
through 10 messages a day in one fell swoop.  If these 
messages are easy to read, it benefits the posters as well
as the readers.

I had never mandated the removal of the taniyans / salutations
as a rule. I merely requested it as something that would 
increase the readability of the actual posts.  I have read
many Visishtadvaita journal articles, in many languages,
and I have never seen a taniyan printed as a preface to every
installment of a piece, or at the top of every page of an
article.  I do not think it wrong to remove or ask
for the removal of a taniyan from a series of articles.

In any case, one member agreed without complaint to cut short 
his salutations, and another insisted on posting them. Either
case in the end is acceptable to me -- this certainly was never 
a condition of article rejection (which should be clear from my 
moderation guidelines).  Anyhow, my only concern has always been 
to increase the comprehensibility and readability of the Mailing
List and Digest. It is only in this spirit that I have acted 
as administrator.

If there are any further objections, please make them known
in public.  Let's wrap up this discussion by Tuesday of next
week, to allow for the weekend.

Thanking you,
Mani