[DEBATE] : Debate ?
jai.sen at cacim.net
Tue Nov 13 10:37:10 GMT 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I am writing to gently complain about excessive zeal in
the way Debate is moderated, and about what seem to me to be
inappropriate rules and, maybe also, ways of functioning.
On September 5, I tried posting a message as follows :
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Here’s the flier for a new book :
Mikael Löfgren & Håkan Thörn, 2007 – ‘Global Civil Society – More Or
Less Democracy?’, special issue of Development Dialogue
This comes out of a seminar at the Nairobi Forum. As you will see,
it contains reflective essays both on global civil society more
generally and also on the World Social Forum.
It’s free ! Order copies at the eddress given…. See the blurb at
the end for conditions.
It didn’t appear.
Today, I have tried posting several messages about the
situation at Nandigram here in India, in the left front ruled state
of West Bengal (where there is heavy state and party-sponsored
violence and also heavy resistance going on, and where a wide front
of solidarity is opening up across the country). There are many here
who regard this as perhaps being / becoming a very significant point.
From http://o3.indiatimes.com/Nandigram :
Moushumi refuses award
KOLKATA, Nov. 11: Renowned actress Moushumi Chatterjee refused a
Lifetime Achievement award that was to be conferred upon her tomorrow
by a well-known Bengali publishing house, as she said she could not
find it in her heart to accept an award or celebrate anything at a
time when heinous atrocities are taking place in Nandigram. The
actress, who fought the Lok Sabha elections from a Kolkata
constituency in 2004 on a Congress ticket but lost, strongly
criticised "powerful people in Bengal who have not been able to
resolve the terrible crisis that has been continuing in Nandigram for
the past 10 months". Chatterjee said from Mumbai: "It is shameful for
everyone in West Bengal that the situation in Nandigram has been
continuing for so long, and that atrocities are still happening
there. In this situation, while people like you and me are dying in
Nandigram, I do not think anyone with the smallest amount of
sensibility can celebrate or take part in a festival. One cannot,
after all, prepare for festivities when one’s home is going through a
crisis. Whether it is the film festival, or any other festival, I
cannot see how anyone can participate in them while Nandigram burns."
Cracks widen in Left
Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, Nov. 11: Exploding the illusion of Left unity, the Left
Front junior partners ~ RSP, Forward Bloc and the CPI ~ today held
the CPI-M "solely responsible" for the fresh blood-letting at
Nandigram. Never before during the past three decades of LF rule has
the CPI-M been put on the dock by its junior partners in such
After the Governor indicted the Marxists’ naked aggression at
Nandigram in their bid to wrest villages from the control of Trinamul
Congress and BUPC, the LF junior partners’ resolution, adopted at an
emergency meeting, completely isolated the CPI-M in state politics.
The pithily-worded resolution dealt such a stunning blow to the CPI-M
that the latter immediately reacted by saying that it always had to
bear the brunt of "attacks" from its adversaries.
I have therefore thought that what is happening at
Nandigram, and in West Bengal, and in India, is something the many on
Debate would definitely want to know about. (Just as Peter Waterman
recently posted something on the land march here.) I therefore first
checked back on this list and, as far as I could see, did not find
anything on it. So since in my judgement, this is a crucial moment
(where the assault is deepening, and the resistance, and the
solidarity, is opening up) I decided, for the moment, to quickly post
I do not know the reasons why my messages have not
appeared, but there seem to be two possibilities. One is that I sent
the September 5 message, and the first three of today’s messages,
simultaneously to both Debate and the Social Movements list. From a
message today on Debate, where you have commented on a message saying
that you don’t normally allow such messages on, it seems that you
monitor and moderate every message. (a) While moderation is a tough
job, this seems to me to be excessive (and a huge load on you); and
(b) I would assume that this – my posting simultaneously on two lists
- is the reason that you have not allowed them / they have been
disallowed. I again think that this is excessive zeal.
The second possibility is that you do not approve of the
content, or of the kind of message I am posting. The first was an
announcement, and the second (a set) information and solidarity
I am not sure what to think about this – and I speak
here as someone involved with administering listserves - whether it
is the appropriate role for moderators to be deciding such things.
It also bothers me to think that things that essentially
fall into this category, but that are happening in South Africa,
appear all the time on Debate. Does this mean that Debate is
essentially a South African list ? Or where the boundaries are
defined by those who moderate ?
(There is also the slightly different question of time
zones. If indeed you have to moderate everything, this presumably
means that messages only get posted when you are awake (and at your
machine). In a list such as Debate, this lack of instantaneity is
perhaps okay, but just slightly archaic… Nevertheless, after writing
this message this morning my time, I waited until other messages
started appearing on the list, and then some more, to see if this was
the reason for mine not coming. Unfortunately, not so.)
I know you work under pressure, but if these are your
reasons (you want Debate to be exclusive), then (a) I think you
should make this pubic, because most people tend to think that lists
are ‘open’, relatively speaking at least; and (b) I think you have to
understand that many of us also work under pressure, and that it is
difficult to find time to always separately post on Debate. The
result is that I sometimes / quite often just do not get to post on
Debate what I have felt might be useful to post / things and views
that I think people on the list would be interested in knowing about.
Beyond this, these two particular lists have, as far as I know,
somewhat different constituencies. It is therefore legitimate to
post on both. I think you / Debate should allow such ‘double
postings’. Maybe you could expand your rules to allow, at the
maximum, double postings. I request you, and the powers that be on
Debate, to change your rules.
I do hope you will allow this message to appear !
PS : Oops ! I now happened to glance at some other messages on
Debate, and I see there that they are indeed posted on more than one
list, and even to several eddresses… so this is clearly not your
policy. So then – what is governing ?!
jai.sen at cacim.net
CACIM, A-3 Defence Colony, New Delhi 110 024, India
Ph : +91-11-4155 1521, 2433 2451
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