[CR]Re: CR list; rules, topic range and controls.

(Example: Production Builders:Cinelli:Laser)

From: <OROBOYZ@aol.com>
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2003 21:17:04 EDT
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]Re: CR list; rules, topic range and controls.

I have been waiting a few days to form my thoughts and be concise in my response to the recent discussions about what are appropriate topics for this list, who decides and who, in fact, owns the list.

Let me explain my view of all this..

Things are not evolutionary here on the CR list. I think the folks who have been on board since the beginning will support that statement. The goal and purpose of the list has been steady. The CR time-frame has been relatively consistent and the "rules" have been included in the Welcome message sent to every single new member since the list went up. (Some folks, maybe many, did not take the time to read the rules, but they have been there.)

The CR list was very different, and still is, from most other web based forums. That was purposeful and based upon a certain logic.

One of the very first premises was that this list would not be a "chat list". Stream-of-consciousness messages, typed out as they occur in the author's mind, were not solicited. What was desired was meaty, useful information sharing. Crisp, minimal mail. Mail that meant something, each post having content. In the beginning, and even more so now, it was seen as undesirable to have a great volume of e-mail.

In addition, other high standards were set for the CR list in civility and personal responsibility. Members were supposed to deport themselves with politeness in dealing with other members, on and off list. Members were required to use their name and town and not to hide behind anonymous nick names. This was to be a true person-to-person environment.

I thought it was clear (perhaps not enough) that this was my list, I created it did and do all the grub work. It is as if I invited you all to my garage to talk about old bikes. I am the host and it is my garage. As long as members behave in an appropriate manner (to be decided by the host) you are welcome and I will extend all my hospitality. If a guest is unable to abide by the house rules, they are reminded. If that guest realizes they had gone astray, is reasonable and cooperative, all is well, no permanent harm done. If that guest flares up at the reminder, calls the host a horse's ass and says "I can do any damn thing I want", they will be asked to leave...

As the list grew from 15 or 20 people to 700 or so folks, it became increasingly difficult to maintain a cap on the mail volume. Topic "wander" was rampant, people argued with me and others and attacked one another. Things went from bad to worse. I was becoming depressed. At a certain crucial point, maybe 3 -4 years ago, I decided this was not how I wanted to spend my spare(?) time and I dumped the list, canceled it, finito.

After a few weeks or a month, all of us who had become such friends in the CR list started it over again. We had missed it. But I had learned a lesson, lax administration of the basics would not again be tolerated.

Despite the rules and necessity to maintain the concept, I have tried to be flexible. I have not jumped on off-topic posters unless a tangent thread threatens.. Even then I have asked, always off-list, that the aberrant behavior be curtailed. If the posters involved are cool with that and cooperate with my request, no problem. If the poster gives me a "ration of s__t", they are booted off the list.

I get requests from every direction to expand the topic range, include their favorite cycling area, a new variant. But, in reality, from a pragmatic point of view, the topics should be tightened, reduced in breadth, not expanded! You all know that the sheer volume of e-mail is still a huge problem with this list. So it will remain as is...

Recently I have had a few nettling zingers thrown my way; for instance, statements that I cater to & allow off topic posts from certain well known and in-gang folk. This irritates me as I have sent warning messages to every single "famous" person on this list! At one time or the other, I have had every "luminary" po'ed at me! Yet I hear this favoritism crap. As you can see, that irks me!

Just to be absolutely clear, I "talk to" folks about being on or off topic, off-list. I do not embarrass them nor force a "public" confrontation. No one, except a few trusted CR members who I occasionally ask to be my witnesses, knows who is contacted by me for "discipline." I spend a helluva lot of time asking folks to stay on topic or to follow the rules, and no one is treated differently. For anyone to say that I am preferential is for them to speak without any supportive information.

Finally, the ownership issue. I think the Internet has fostered a sort of communal-think in regard to these forums. I know nothing of that. All I know is that I thought of the CR list, developed it, spend inordinate amount of timing screwing around with it, with little or no personal benefit except that I like it. I have absolute control over whether it continues or ceases to exist. I cannot understand how someone else could assume "ownership" in something like the CR list in which they have no active role or responsibility for, save writing a message to it when they wish.

The CR list is a reflection of my personal value code and is lovingly offered to be shared with friends and I feel lucky to have you here with me. In short, like it or not, I am the darn owner! If you somehow object to my role, you too can own an e-mail list tomorrow! All it takes is imagination and a lot of hard work.

Meanwhile, welcome to my garage. We are talking about old bikes up until 1983 or so. Here are the <A HREF="http://www.classicrendezvous.com./CR_list_rules.htm">CR list rules.</A>

My deep thanks to all the very wonderful friends I have made here on the CR list and I hope we can continue exploring and discovering these wonderful old bikes together.

Thanks, Dale

Dale Brown Greensboro, North Carolina <A HREF="http://www.classicrendezvous.com./main.htm">ClassicRendezvous.com</A>