[b-hebrew] Signing your Messages (From Moderators)

George Athas george.athas at moore.edu.au
Sun Aug 5 20:11:37 EDT 2007

Dear Members,
Thanks to those who have expressed concerns about using full names on
B-Hebrew. We do want this kind of feedback from our members to keep the
forum bouncing along nicely.
Let me make some comments:
(1) As moderators, we aim to create a forum that has scholarly integrity,
and one within which our members feel comfortable interacting with each
other. This means upholding a dynamic in which there can be up to five types
of people: (1) Someone who puts forward an idea for discussion; (2) Someone
who challenges the idea; (3) The 'lurking' observer; (4) The Moderator; (5)
The web-surfer who searches the B-Hebrew archives.
(2) In light of the dynamic described above, it is only courtesy that all
people know who they are dealing with. No one needs to know all your
personal details, but a name is a compulsory requirement. Whether it is your
real name or an alias is of secondary concern, though we encourage people to
use their real name.
(3) You certainly do not need to supply your location -- this is in no way
compulsory. We simply encourage members to supply it, but they do not have
to for the very reasons which "Jane" raised. The default 'location' of every
member is the cyber forum 'B-Hebrew'. If you wish to supply more
information, we are grateful.
(4) If you merely lurk on the list, this issue will hardly affect you.
However, you are still within the dynamic of the forum.
(5) We do not see B-Hebrew as merely a Hebrew playground. On the contrary,
it is a forum where serious academic discussion is pursued: Ideas are put
forward, they are discussed, critiqued, challenged, and finally archived. In
this regard, the forum is not like a phone call which comes to and end when
the conversation partners are done talking. Rather it is more like an
academic conference with individual papers available to all delegates and
other interested persons. You wouldn't expect a conference participant to
call themselves "Prof. Heimlichmanoeuvre" would you? How seriously could
someone like that be taken? In pursuing this policy, we are merely applying
a basic standard of scholarly interaction which prevails in the academic
world. If you thought anything less, then please amend your expectations. 
(6)  Although we do not expect everyone to have a PhD in Hebrew or biblical
studies, we do demand rigorous logic in the discussion of Hebrew (and logic
is not just the possession of the Professor [some would even question
that!]). As such, if you join in a conversation on B-Hebrew, you need to own
your own comments and be accountable for the things you say (just as a
conference participant is responsible for a paper they might give, or the
questions they may ask there). The beauty of B-Hebrew is that it opens up
the forum not just to the world-renowned expert, but also to the amateur.
However, this does not override the fact that we are pursuing scholarly
interaction in a scholarly forum. Withholding your name is, in the current
opinion of the moderators, not being completely forthright.
(7) Since B-Hebrew is an open forum which is archived, your comments
automatically go 'on the record' (so to speak). Your accountability, then,
extends not just to members' inboxes, but to a larger public which is
interested in Hebrew. We believe there are many people out there with
valuable contributions to make to our knowledge of Hebrew language and
literature, but we want to ensure there is a standard and a means of
(8) Credit where credit is due -- if you do make a valuable contribution to
Hebrew, then you deserve to be acknowledged for this. Again, this is just
applying a basic academic standard.
(9) The feedback of our members is most welcome, though can I suggest you
send it to the moderators directly so as not to clog up all members' inboxes
with this issue. You can send mail to the moderators individually, or
collectively (b-hebrew-owner at lists.ibiblio.org).
In summary, the main reasons we apply this policy of giving full names are
courtesy, accountability, and integrity in a scholarly forum.

Best Regards, 
Fellow Chairman, B-Hebrew 
Moore Theological College (Sydney) 
1 King St, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia 
Ph: (+61 2) 9577 9774 

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Jane
Sent: Sunday, 5 August 2007 4:47 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] FW: Sign Your Messages Please
Importance: Low

I do not entirely disagree with this information regarding the header
information on email lists.  However, considering the population of this
district is very small and that I live in an area where the nearest
neighbour is measured in km's not metres, I am female and the nearest police
and ambulance would take over an hour to get here (at high speed).  These
things combined with the fact that there are not very many Jane's in the
area let alone any other with my surname then it is a VERY simple and quite
a 'no-brainer' to track down a street address.  You only have to google to
discover just how much info let alone the fact that you can search telephone
records by name and general location to get a street address.  The original
request that I responded to was to supply full name and location.  With
those two details it would be EXTREMELY easy to locate  my street address.

I desire to learn Hebrew.  I also have a child that desires to do this too,
however I am not willing to risk our safety in order to do so.  I do not
think this is a mediocre issue.  Safety of women and children are put at
risk daily by information available on the internet.  I consider our safety
to be of more importance than to be a member of an email list.  This is why
I join these sorts of lists using my Yahoo email address and not my private
email address with my ISP.  I stand by my statement that I am happy to
leave, however I would like the issue of safety and security to be
considered and be allowed to remain but to do so I can never provide more
than first name and Australia.

Jane  in Australia

On 5/8/07 3:45 PM, "Bruce Prince" <bruceprince at bigpond.com> wrote:

> I believe the Moderators are correct in requesting that each post should
> accompanied by the sender's full name (fake or otherwise). There are a
> couple of good reasons for this. Firstly, it lifts the group out of the
> mediocre where members sign with a pen-name, alias, or in the better
> instances - their proper first name. Often with this sort of freedom,
> messages are posted without accountability, and I believe this group is
> above that.
> Secondly, the thoughts and opinions of the members of this group are often
> valuable because they have their origin in extensive study, knowledge, or
> simply a passion for the subject. Attaching one's handle to their own
> comments shouldn't be a big deal.
> It is easy to see where Jane is coming from, but her fears of being
> down' are based on a misunderstanding of TCP/IP addressing - which in
> layman's language refers to how PC terminals are identified on the
> Although it is possible to determine the address of Jane's ISP, it is not
> possible to work out her home address from any of the header information
> contained in her email messages.
> Cheers
> Bruce Prince
> Australia
> -----Original Message-----
> Brak wrote:
>> But for some reason the moderators find that using a full name is
>> essential - something that I myself can't wrap my head around.
> _______________________________________________
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew

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