[b-hebrew] Genesis 31: 47: What Foreign Language Is That? (FROM MODERATORS)

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Dec 1 16:58:10 EST 2007

On Nov 30, 2007 2:24 PM, Kirk Lowery wrote:

> You are in error if you think b-hebrew exists to promote scholarly
> discussion. That is secondary. It's primary purpose from the beginning
> has always been to offer a public forum for people who otherwise would
> not interact with one another directly. If it is public, and all may
> join, then there is no way to legitimately limit content that is within
> bounds of our charter. (There are exclusively scholarly forums, such as
> miqra, I believe.)

Miqra is no longer in operation, mostly, in my opinion, because of
technically problematic setup that could not be directed conveniently
to the private mail of readers but required logging in.  However, it also
did not significantly moderate its posts, as far as I saw at least, and
this might have been another reason that it was closed down.

A public list that allows all to join can still be moderated.  It can still
allow some users to post -- and some to post only after moderation.
This is, in fact, explicitly specified in your charter -- where to eliminate
spam, users' posts are moderated initially.  But if you think that by not
moderating for posting a specific point content even if it is ridiculous or
would be considered crackpottery by most pepole, then you are
somehow promoting the exchange "between people who would otherwise
not interact with one another directly," you're only right in the very literal
sense of the word.  Many who join the list -- whether beginners or not --
want to be able to interact with scholars -- those with whom they would
normally not be able to interact.  If you are indifferent as scholars and
other good people leave, then you have failed in providing them with that
opportunity.  In a sense, you are not promoting the kind of exchange
you desire -- in the wider sense that it implies.

> The moment we begin to monitor and control intellectual content, we
> immediately create a power structure and then the fight for control
> begins.

I haven't seen this happen in other lists.  Why do you say it will happen

> The uniqueness of this kind of forum is that all levels of discussion
> are possible. No one controls or dominates the discussion. And it's
> *easy*  to filter out the nonsense. If I think someone is a bozo, I can
> simply ignore their postings. Or create a filter in my email program to
> delete them. I can identify those with whom I can have profitable
> discussions and only respond to them. And everyone else benefits, too.

So you sort of expect the readers to do the moderating that you refuse to
do?  But how can they bring back those scholars who simply found it too
much work and hassle to do so?  How do everyone else benefit from that?

Yitzhak Sapir

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