[Foundation-l] Introducing a new mailing list

Michael Snow wikipedia at earthlink.net
Wed Dec 6 08:28:39 UTC 2006

Sam Korn wrote:

> There is, I think, a strong argument that notes such as Michael's
> should be sent *privately*, rather than to the list.  Certainly on
> occasions -- and I think this could be one of them -- it can be useful
> to emphasise a remark like this, especially as it is in the context of
> the greater discussion.
> But generally, if you want to invite someone to deport themselves
> better on a mailing list (or indeed on a wiki), it is much more
> friendly and likely to get a better response to send them a private
> email.

Traditional list etiquette encourages that approach, yes, although 
really I think the odds have more to do with how the message is crafted 
than with whether it is delivered publicly or privately. Here it was a 
difficult balancing act. It is evident that at least some people do not 
see much of a problem, perhaps not surprising since bias and 
discrimination often operate in subtle and systemic ways. As a result, 
it is sometimes necessary to publicly call out examples.

However, Snowdog is a valuable part of the community and has a good 
reputation, so I wasn't happy to be so critical. I did try to "play the 
ball, not the man" (sexist idiom, but the right gender in this case) by 
focusing on the comment itself and what was offensive about it. I am 
thankful that he continues to participate, with good grace and in a 
constructive fashion. A "botched joke" may cost John Kerry the chance to 
run for President again, but it shouldn't cost anyone the chance to post 
again to this list.

--Michael Snow

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