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Re: [atlarge-discuss] mailing lists

(As this thread is also going on on the panel list, I am actually
proposing some draft texts for the panel's discussion. Of course, also
suggestions by atlarge-discuss subscribers are more than welcome.)

On Mon, 13 May 2002 06:49:26 -0400, you wrote:

>2.  I think we have to take some basic steps to ensure that the listserve is
>run for the benefit of the group, which means having some rules regarding
>access to the membership information, and confidence that the list
>membership and archives will be managed properly.

Agreed. We have started discussion on these issues too. 

>3.   I don't have any problems with TR hosting the list. 

But Richard had (I was answering to him).

>4.   I do think there is an issue of transparency in terms of the mailing
>list.  I think the names of the subscribers could be public, but I would
>have limited access to the email addresses, to address to the spam issue.
>I think the we need to have an agreement with *whoever* hosts the lists to
>make sure the archives don't just dissappear one day without notice, and we
>need to ensure also that the mailing list (email addresses) is protected
>also.  These are policies that should be independent of who actually hosts
>the lists.   We should be able to switch the listowner or webmaster for any
>reason at any time without losting control of the data, or ending up with
>dead links.  It might be a good idea to have discussions with TR about these
>issues, as was done with Joop recently about policies for the web page.

Yes, of course. In a formal way, you should have all people who get
the members' list (others are not significantly problematic) sign an
NDA that binds them to keep it private. However, since we now don't
even exist, we should start by adopting some rules. We have started
discussing who can have access to this list, but yes, we should also
approve a formal statement about what can be done with these lists.

I would define two different policies, one for "staff", and one for
the "trustees".

For the staff, policy is easy:

"Supporting persons or staff members, who are granted access to the
databases containing members' or other people's personal details for
the purpose of fulfilling technical and organizational tasks, shall
formally commit not to use such databases in whole or in part for any
other usage, and to follow instructions approved by the panel. In
particular, these persons will never give such databases to any other
party, and shall never use them to contact directly a part or the
whole of the membership and of the other people in the databases,
unless instructed by the panel to do so.

Those of such persons who are technically responsible for maintaining
these databases will promptly supply an updated copy of them, both on
a regular basis and on request, to the trustees appointed by the

Can this wording be ok?

For the trustees (ie, Karl Auerbach & other directors) and for the
panel members it is slightly more difficult to write the policy,
because the reason you want these people to get this list is to let
them use it if they feel that this effort is being "captured" or
"tamed" by ill-intentioned members who succeed in being elected, or by
the staff. But on the other hand, you have to avoid that, for example,
panel members who don't agree with decisions taken by the panel use
this list to send propaganda for their own minority positions.

"Trustees (including panel members), who are granted access to the
databases containing members' or other people's personal details for
the purpose of preventing potential capture of the organization, shall
formally commit not to use them in any event, unless in case these
details are necessary to restore the organization's databases after
their loss, theft or capture, or in case the internal rules of the
organization are broken by some of its elected officers, staff, or
supporting members with the purpose of illegally gaining power over
the organization itself. Only in this latter case, the trustees are
allowed to use these databases to contact the membership directly and
help reconstitute the organization under its proper rules. In any
other case, the trustees shall not use these databases to contact
directly a part or the whole of the membership and of the other people
in the databases, and they will never give them to any other party.

Trustees are appointed by a majority vote of the panel, and must
include at least one person who is not a member of the panel."

What do you think of this?

Finally, there need to be formal policies for the mailing list (and
web forums) management. I don't think we should enter now into
discussions about pre-moderating or post-moderating our lists - I
would leave this for a later phase, or for when an actual case
happens. However I would adopt a brief formal statement about what the
list administrator must do:

"The list administrator must not prevent any message from being
delivered to the subscribers of a given list, nor should edit or alter
messages in any way, directly or through the list configuration,
unless instructed from the panel to do so on a case by case basis or
by general directions. If the panel decides that the list must be
archived, the list administrator must act so that all messages are
properly stored and promptly presented in the archive. Whenever
technical problems prevent these rules from being followed, the list
administrator must promptly report such events to the panel. The list
archives must be made available to the panel on request, and must not
be altered or deleted without the consent of the panel."

And one last thing: we never discussed (not even for the webmaster) if
we had to ask them not to participate to policy discussions in the
forums for the sake of their "super partes" role. However, I think
that this would be excessive and neither Thomas nor Joop would accept

Comments? Let's find an agreeable wording and then we'll vote on these
.oOo.oOo.oOo.oOo vb.
Vittorio Bertola     <vb@vitaminic.net>    Ph. +39 011 23381220
Vitaminic [The Music Evolution] - Vice President for Technology

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