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[at-l] OT Wing Foot Ryan
> I was always puzzled by the fund drive since I just could not see the
> purpose behind it. All the so-called political threads that I saw were
> generally conducted in a fair and good natured way. There were some barbed
> comments but I don't recall any of them degenerating into free-for-all ad
> hominum flame wars. So I never could understand what people were trying to
> suppress. A lot of information was introduced into the list in the course of
> those threads.
The immediate impetus was when the discussion degenerated into
speculation about the mental health of one of list members. Things were
going downhill quickly, and Ryan moved just as quickly to head off
further trouble. Terrapin calls it a bribe. Perhaps. Perhaps Ryan could
have just said he'd shut down the list if people didn't cool it. I doubt
such threats would have been better received, but who knows. I certainly
didn't feel I was being bribed, and when at the end of the first month I
decided to join in and send some money to the ATC, it wasn't out of a
desire to bribe anyone else either. Rafe can believe otherwise if he
wishes, but in my case at least he is mistaken.
> The only lesson I could draw from that episode was that there were a lot of
> vocal list members that wanted only nuts-and-bolts and socializing type
> pabulum on the list. I never saw any lack of either while we still had free
> speech here. There were plenty of discussions of packs and sleeping bags at
> the same time that we had ongoing threads about fire fighting and guns. I'm
> sure we had a discussion of feminine hygiene products and what underwear was
> best too.
Where is the ban on free speech? This list, like every other one in
existence, has limits to what is on-topic. That's only natural and
normal. Folks can drift more than is allowed on most others without
there being complaints, but some topics always generate heated
discussions and those are more quickly stopped when they go off-topic.
Is it a suppression of free speech were I to complain that another
student monopolized a class period in physics by going on at length
about calculus? They are related, after all. But I'm there to learn
about physics; let him talk about other subjects elsewhere, and not take
up my time with such digressions.
I'm on AT-L for certain reasons. I'm also on TA, for others. However
related they might be, they are still distinct, and deserve separate
> The TA list was doomed to failure because the loyal opposition to a lot of
> the politically correct types saw clearly that the TA list would be
> moderated by a member of far left and any opposing viewpoints would be
> squashed forthwith. Thus there was no reason for naysayers to join the TA
> list; nor would any of the heads-in-the-sand group join since they abjure
> free discussion. The only left the left would would get tired of preaching
> to each other PDQ.
There were several calls for volunteers to moderate the new list; did
> The only chance TA had was if a moderator was chosen that came from the
> small list of people who could see both sides of an issue and would fairly
> administer the list. I must hasten to inject the point that I haven't read
> any TA posts and am just reacting to third party reports. I have heard that
> my name has been brought up in TA as an example of the
> dark-side-of-the-force even tho I never showed up over there.
You are basing your understanding of the TA list purely on hearsay?
Hardly a wise way to develop an informed opinion about anything, don't
> So generally I have to agree with Rafe, RnR and Weary, this list has decided
> in favor of being bland and tasteless. That generally means it will be
> content free and probably can be replaced with a FAQ list. "What is the best
> date to start SOBO"; "Should I get a Hammock?"; "What to do about those
> pesky shelter mice?" and so on. Anything more interesting and substantial
> would be interpreted by the chicken little group as upsetting and would be
> shouted down posthaste.
I guess that if you feel that way so strongly, you should just go ahead
and unsubscribe. I would hate to see you go, but you should follow your
It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will
determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate
discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor
must preside at our assemblies.
William O. Douglas