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Re: [CDT-L] Politics and the list

I think that people join these kinds of lists for various reasons. 

For the record, I'm strongly against ghettoizing environmental/political 
issues into their own list.  It marginalizes them. I'm interested in 
everything to do with the CDT and long distance hiking, and I believe that 
enviro and politcal issues are part of that everything. I don't want to see 
them marginalized.  

Personally, I'm not that interested in a list that is only about where are 
the springs and do you need an ice ax in the San Juans, etc. (Although I can 
FOR SURE tell you that if I were planning a CDT hike I would be MOST 
interested in that sort of thing.) I joined the list because I'm interested 
in how the trail is progressing, in issues and ideas surrounding it, and in 
hearing about the experiences and ideas of others.  

I appreciate Earl's starting the list, and I certainly sympathize with the 
concern that controversial discussions will degenerate into name calling. I'd 
like to submit my experience, though, as the forum host on the hiking page at 
GORP.com, where I "manage" discussions on a variety of hiking topics 
involving hundreds of people. In the seven months I've been doing this, we've 
had a few very heated and controversial debates, but only in one case 
(involving guns on trails) did we actually feel we had to "censor" anybody, 
when the thread degenerated into name calling and users threatened lawsuits 
against each other. At GORP, people can post anonymously, and our forums get 
a much wider spectrum of people, some with real pet issues and passions. As 
might be expected, when people are anonymous, they sometimes behave badly.

Even so , for the most part, the discussions have stayed civilized. We have 
an entire conservation forum that is dedicated to public lands and 
environmental issues.  We've also had threads on Hike Naked day, dogs, guns, 
fees, cell phones, regulations, and a bunch of other topics.  

I think that this CDT list has attracted very passionate people, and that the 
people participating have a higher level of outdoor experience and concern -- 
no matter what their politics. If GORP's public discussions, which are open 
to anyone with a gripe to air or concern to argue, can stay interesting and 
reasonably polite -- if sometimes heated -- I would certainly think that we 
on this list can rise to the same level of discourse.

The most controversial thing we ever did at GORP was "censor" the gun debate 
by pulling off the posts that went off topic and into personal insults.    

I am disturbed by any attempt to censor, prohibit, or marginalize a topic of 
conversation that legimately deals with the topic we are here to discuss -- 
the CDT. Earl, I respect that you started the list and thank you for it, but 
I believe that everyone's voice is important -- as long as it is polite.  

I think if we could agree to simply put an accurate subect line on the 
messages we are sending each other, that would solve the problem -- If you 
don't like the subject line of the e-mail message, simply don't read it! But 
just because YOU don't want to read it doesn't mean that the rest of us 
shouldn't have the opportunity to.

Karen Berger
Message from the Continental Divide Trail Mailing List

To:            "Cdt-L" <cdt-l@backcountry.net>