David McCann writes:
> Am I the only one here who is sick of having their mail box filled with
> off-topic posts? If I go to the Zompist board, I expect to find the
> ephemera section filled with irrelevant postings, frequently
> ill-informed, and often offensive. If I don't like it, I don't have to
> read it. But the contents of a mailing list come whether I want them or
> not; that's why we have the "no cross, no crown" rule, and why we have
> moderation. Where is our benevolent dictator when we need him?

Well, I'm here.  If you need me urgently, you can always reach the benevolent
dictator under [log in to unmask] or directly under
[log in to unmask] -- if I am awake, I have Internet access almost at all times,
so you are likely to get a quick response.

My main function here is not to be around at all times, but to help if there
are problems.  Even if I were around at all times, I would not read all
topics (also not my job), so anyone may please feel free to contact me
if help is needed.

I am doing this list owner job because I want to be of help and because I
really like the community and the climate of discussions on this list.  If
I am not helpful, then I won't stand in the way for another person to do
the job (this is a major difference to a real dictator).

A few years ago, I was around much more often, but now I am not around
all the time anymore.  The list has always been very well-behaved, so
there was actually never much to do to rectify things, and, therefore,
I don't see a problem depending on list users to notify me of urgent matters.
Think of it like the police: you probably don't want a police man watching
all your doors and windows all the time, but you do want to be able to
call the police in case of a burglary.

But maybe you do want me to watch at all times.  If you think the list
owner should be around at all times, then please start a discussion
especially for that topic for us to find out what the whole lists wants
and needs.

As for the off-topic thing: that has always been a matter of long discussions.
The main problem is that mailing list posts, once sent, cannot be changed,
e.g. to add an OT mark.  I have no capacity to moderate all posts before
sending, and I also think full moderation is bad for free discussions.  So
this mailing list will always have this problem, compared to web fora.

The only thing I can do here is to tell everyone, again, to use the OT marker
for off-topic discussions, so that the list's message filters can be used:

List members, please use OT: in the subject of your off-topic messages!