Zurinskas (Was: saving the world)

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Mon Dec 4 15:19:17 UTC 2006

On Mon, Dec 04, 2006 at 06:47:49AM -0600, Susan Burt wrote:
> Hello, Everyone,
> I am new to this list--been on it for about 3 or 4 weeks, perhaps.  I
> had just accepted the post of "Midwest secretary" of the ADS, and
> thought I should be at least listening in on this list.

Welcome to the list, Susan. Sorry about your timing.

> So, Beverly's call for reform (below) and several of the
> messages have made me wonder what kind of list this is, and
> whether the messages I have seen over the past weeks are
> typical or whether I have just come in at a bad time.

They are not typical, though certainly it's quite common
for mildly off-topic posts to come from regular members.
The list is much more free-flowing than something rigorously
edited, like the LINGUIST List.

> Are there moderators?  What do they do?  What are the goals of
> this list? The only other list I am on is the LINGUIST list--and this
> seems very different (I suspect one difference may be that their
> moderators are paid, though probably not much).

There are not moderators; there are two list-owners, me and
Terry Irons, but we perform mostly administrative duties.

Terry and I have discussed the Zurinskas issue, and feel that
the best solution is to ignore him. There are occasional calls
to close the list down to ADS members only, but we feel that
the list benefits from openness. Furthermore, while there have
been occasional spurts of posting from annoying people (the
Everything-English-Is-Borrowed-From-Irish guy, and the
Vocabula Review guy, to use their descriptions rather than
their names), these have always been limited (once every year
or so), and they have, however badly, been on the topic of
American English. The delete key seems to be the best
solution; censorship seems to be not the best solution.

Ultimately the management of the ADS itself could make a
decision about this; it's certainly possible to close the
list to members, add a formal moderation step, etc., but
I think the disadvantages of such actions would far outweigh
the advantages.

Jesse Sheidlower
co-listowner, ADS-L, and
Oxford English Dictionary

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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