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Emilie R. Karr (
2012-08-08 11:12 pm (UTC)
Hi (please forgive the seemingly sockpuppet nature of this journal, it's pretty new and I haven't had the time yet to write any posts.) I'm the primary author of the letter, and I want to apologize for its purpose not being clearer.
It was not intended as a rebuke to anyone. Early in the course of the CatChange thread, a few wranglers directly questioned what constituted antagonism on the mlist, and whether it was problematic. The letter was intended as a general answer to those questions, not as a response to the specific discussion or anyone participating in it.
The mailing list has at present no official rules of etiquette, but with an unmoderated list this large, there is a potential for discussions to turn contentious, and the line between open debate and flamewar needs to be drawn or else we risk driving people away. While some think the list's tone to be entirely acceptable, other wranglers have mentioned that they find it at times hostile or vicious. And many people are unwilling to express their opinions in what appears to them to be a hostile environment, so will simply never speak up at all.
The letter was meant to answer the questions asked, and lay down a few basic expectations for posting on the wrangler mailing list (and only there, not anywhere else on or off the org), so that in the future, if anyone does start crossing that line, we will have guidelines to point to when we approach those individuals and ask them to moderate their posts.
To tell by these comments, the letter failed to make this clear, and I'm composing a clarification to send to the list, echoing what I've said here. We want the wrangler mailing list to be an encouraging place for wrangling-related discussions; we do not want to silence peoples' opinions, but we want those opinions expressed in ways that won't discourage other people from speaking up and offering their own. Which is a difficult balance to strike (especially because there is always a degree of subjectivity to perceived antagonism, and one person's mildly critical remarks may be taken as deliberately hostile by someone else), and one we are obviously still working on! But please do not take the letter as a personal reprimand, or that your (any wrangler's) comments on the mailing list are unwanted, because that was the opposite of its intent.
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