Mary Ellen Tucker
Past Board Members
A quick reminder on how moderation works.
The moderators, all 10 of us, generally do not see postings before other members of LeoniaTalks do. This is to facilitate the exchange of ideas: members can post without interference, and other members can immediately see the postings.
There are only a few exceptions. Brand new members are placed on a probationary moderation status in which their postings are pre-screened for a time. Likewise are some members whom the moderators have decided (by vote) to pre-screen as a precaution based on past behavior. Some people are further put on a time-out (by vote), in which their messages during the time-out are simply deleted. In the extreme, two people have been suspended (by vote) from the listserv altogether.
This has been the practice of this list for most of the 17 years it has been maintained, and it is one of the reasons why it has survived. The moderators in general have favored discussion that is quick and free rather than slow and approved.
This means, though, that the moderators cannot instantly react, and that most moderation has to happen after the fact.
So, it is possible that someone can get off a quick unfair shot before the moderators notice. It is also possible that short flame wars can erupt while the moderators are leading their non-email lives, or while they are busy deliberating about a particular member. (There was a time some years ago, in the days before a similarly contested primary, when *four* people kept going after each other during the few minutes it took a moderator to compose an email about it.)
The moderators are aware that things tend to get heated at election time.
If necessary, we may also do something that we rarely do, but have done in the past under similar circumstances. This is to put an entire group of posters involved in an issue all on moderation immediately, until we sort things out and vote on what to do. This is sort of like a teacher keeping an entire class after school until decisions are made as to whom to discipline. Sometimes, working through the many claims of "he hit me back first" requires that we first act then think, even though some genuinely innocent members will find themselves restricted from posting what they consider to be legitimate defenses.
In the meantime, list members have a responsibility to police themselves.
Ask: Would you say it to the person, face-to-face, with an audience standing nearby?
Ask: How would it look if it were quoted in the Bergen Record? (Yes, there are some reporters on the listserv. They will ask your permission first. But, will you want to say yes?)
Ask: Would you like your kids to discover in the archives a few years from now what Mom or Dad *really* said?
It is a noisy busy business, this democracy. The moderators are working on it.
John Kender, moderator
169 Ames Ave.
P.S. Please note that moderators routinely recuse themselves from voting on Leonia boards and commissions on which they serve.