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moderation policy

From: sudarshan (lucasfie_at_md2.vsnl.net.in)
Date: Fri Aug 14 1998 - 23:38:56 PDT

Dear Mani,
Here are my views on the above subject.
(1) I think the biggest attraction of the "bhakti-list" is that it is
"COMPLETELY FREE". It is very rare in the world to find a SriVaishnava
forum where views and ideas, learned and unlearned, scholarly and
pedestrian, informed and misguided all get FREELY shared and discussed
about. It is a forum where none has to be inhibited in speaking out his
mind. In the process one learns many lessons --- sometimes painful ones
too!

For God's sake keep the character of "bhakti-list" as unfettered and
vibrant as it is today.

A fortnight ago I was in London on official business. My place of work was
in Park Street in the Mayfair area. I took time off to stroll down Marble
Arch and into Hyde Park to visit Speaker's Corner. I heard out a common
speaker there -- some lower-level clerk working in a British Bank -- atop a
soap-box surrounded by about a score of people. He was savaging his
employer and believe me it was a marvellous treat listening to his
vitriolic eloquence. If ever an address could be delivered with grace as
much as scalding venom it was surely his! Listeners, including me, were
spell-bound! 

Hyde Park is a hoary institution the British have cherished across
centuries! They realize it has its uses for ordinary people at large who
have SOMETHING to say and yet have NO PLACE on earth to voice it!
 
I am not arguing that the "bhakti-list" should be turned into the
cyber-version of "Hyde Park of SriVaishnavism". I am saying that an an
institution which serves as a free-and-unfettered clearing-house of
ideas/opinions for present-day ordinary SriVaishnavas like ourselves is
very rare indeed and hence needs to be preserved in its original form.   

(2) I have been a member of this group for about 12 months in all now. I
have had my share of bouquets and brickbats thrown at me for my views and
opinions.(Somebody once even threatened me with that ultimate American
weapon of intimidation and bully --- a lawyer's notice!) But never have I
had anything offensive or obnoxious hurled at me. I don't think I have done
so either.

(3) In all cases on the list in the past where there were some ideological
or doctrinal differences amongst members, I felt far more offence was TAKEN
than ever GIVEN! People read affront and abuse where there was none
intended! People needlessly imagined insults at the drop of a hat! People
presumed sacrilege and blasphemy where there was only genuine curiosity and
healthy inquiry!

(4) I think the idea of a "moderating committee of elderly or senior
members" is wholly unnecessary. It militates against the very spirit, the
very essence of this list! I for one would be extremely disappointed with
such a move.

(5) By the way, when I was living in Bahrain the Arabs there used to have a
joke going amongst them on "committees": they used to have a wonderful
definition for their favourite animal, the camel; they used to say proudly
that the camel too is actually a race-horse --- only that it came to be
designed by a committee of god's angels!

Regards,
sudarshan