[As of December 2003, the policies detailed below appear to have ended with Peter Salzman's replacement as listadmin by Bill Kendrick. Numerous odd rules and proclamations were removed from LUGOD's mailing list informational Web pages, around the same time. Nothing detailed below should be seen as reflecting on current list management.

September 2004 addendum: I received a rather hapless and bizarre threat letter about this Web page (via USPS), and was obliged to spend valuable time drafting a reply.]

LUGOD mailing list censorship policies

More at: http://kmself.home.netcom.com/Rants/lugod-censorship.html

Shown here (for archival purposes) is evidence of gross abuse of the list-administrator position by Linux User Group of Davis listadmin Peter Jay Salzman:

Post 1 of 2:

Immediately after this post went out to the LUGOD mailing lists, it failed to show up in the list archives for those two lists at http://www.lugod.org/mailinglists/archives/. LUGOD president Bill Kendrick asserts as of 2003-01-30 that the message was eaten by a procmail "duplicate" filter. (Query: When was the last time a duplicate filter deleted all copies of an e-mail?)

Listadmin Peter Jay Salzman has sole control of the mailing lists. Restoring the post to the archive required protest to LUGOD's president and vice-president.




Censored post follows:

From: "Karsten M. Self" 
To: LUGOD vox ,
	LUGOD vox-tech 
Cc: IWE , root@lugod.org, sys@lugod.org
User-Agent: Mutt/1.4i
Subject: [Iwe] Censorship => signoff
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2003 06:48:06 +0000

As much as this group has to offer, I'm signing off vox & vox-tech
effective immediately due to the behavior of the list admin.

First a few points about myself.

  - I've been a Unix user for over 15 years.  GNU/Linux for the past
    five.

  - I've used, run, FAQ'd, caballed, and designed discussion forums,
    lists, message boards, and the like, also for over 15 years.
    Methods of group communication, discussion, and documentation are a
    topic of both practical and intellectual interest to me.  I've even
    known a few people at LUGOD via these means over the entire
    duration.

  - I've been active in the GNU/Linux and free software community for
    the past five years, and had the pleasure to meet and know many
    people throughout the community at all levels.

  - In meetings, presentations, and activities, LUGOD is the best
    organized and run user groups I've seen.  Bar none.


That said, there is a very serious, and as I've heard from several
sources, long standing issue with mailing list administration.  This
problem needs fixing badly and soon.


For the single action of posting a followup comment to the group from
which a discussion had started, I was accused by the list administrator
of:

  - Cross posted to both lists, which is a big no-no.  [Ed: The followup
    was forwarded to the list it had begun on, which the list admin had
    moved it in the first place]

  - Sending non-technical content to vox-tech, which is a big no-no.
    [Ed: See above.  Topic drift happens.]

  - Brought up reply-to munging, which is a violation of khendon's rule,
    which is also a huge no-no.[1]


This was followed with the threat:

    on the next violation of mailing list rules, i'm going to start
    approving your posts.   you're very fond of quoting rules which
    frankly don't apply here, or which i feel ambivalent to.


Being told with a heavy hand that actions whose status vis-a-vis list
rules is highly debatable at best will result in moderation on next
instance is far more than simply undiplomatic.

It's a stifling of free discussion and actively discourages
participation.  It's a violation of norms of respect, trust,
intellectual honesty, and the fostering of free speech and technical
debate which are among the foundations of free software.  It's simply
unacceptable.

We're living in times at which openness of our institutions --
government, business, technology, education, and religion --
particularly for the purposes of internal criticism and review, has been
badly compromised.  It's beyond pitiful that a group of like-minded
technical folks with shared interests, mostly neighbors, can't evaluate,
or comment on, their own group, rules, and tools.  

The minute someone starts saying "you can't talk about this or that" the
alarm bells go off in my head.  It's the sign of a sick society.


I requested an apology for the moderation threat, a withdrawal of the
threat, and several changes in list policy, including considering
removal of the current list administrator.  Having had not received same
after 24 hours, I'm un-subscribing from LUGOD lists and ceasing
participation in an organization I can no longer trust or respect, 
much as it pains me to say this.

I remain an active participant in other area LUGs, including SVLUG,
BALUG, and NBLUG.   You'll also find me participating in discussions
elsewhere on the Web, particularly at http://z.iwethey.org/ and other
channels associated with IWeThey, a group of technical professionals
I've known for years.

Peace.

--------------------
Notes:

1.  Khendon's rule is a heuristic for determining that a topic thread
    has exhausted  usefulness.  The leap in logic of applying this to
    any discussion of a particular topic on a mailing list escapes me.


--
Karsten M. Self         http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   Reading is a right, not a feature
     -- Kathryn Myronuk                           http://www.freesklyarov.org





Interlude: A Jabber Chat Script

From: Rick Moen 
To: IWE 
Subject: [Iwe] I (literally) can't comment, except:
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2003 23:11:41 -0800

(Posted from Jabber group discussion, with permission.)

[23:11:16] <kmself> One of Salzman's points is that if he *didn't* act
like a Nazi he'd lose list members.
[23:11:31] <kmself> I'm demonstrating a similar, but slightly different aspect.
[23:12:23] <kmself> I am, of course, dying to see what if any follow-up
discussion results....
[23:12:30] <redrick> He's speaking for the silent majority, you see.
[23:13:10] <redrick> The simple people, whose feelings must be preserved
against anything that the listadmin deems might furrow their brows, lest
they be intimidated into not posting.
[23:13:40] <redrick> I'm sure he'll claim to have numerous off-list
complaints on file.  57 or so (a la HUAC).
[23:15:06] <redrick> You won't see any posts from me to subsequent
follow-up discussion, since all of my posts must be vetted by the
listadmin pro bono publico.
[23:15:41] <kmself> Natch.
[23:15:49] <kmself> You've appealed this status?
[23:16:40] <redrick> Yes.  Salzman has elected to ignore a directive
from the club president, to the contrary.
[23:18:02] <kmself> That's not right.
[23:19:03] <kmself> OK, message delivered via IWE.
[23:19:17] <kmself> I'm wondering if he'd started filtering my posts already...
[23:19:24] <kmself> Though I doubt it.
[23:19:36] <redrick> Or so says the club president, who says Salzman
refused after being angry at my having the gall to tell him privately
that I'd be making no public comment on his taking a personal shot at me
publicly, on-list, but that he knew that was a dishonourable thing to do.
[23:19:57] <redrick> No, you were not at that time (yet) on his filter list.

_______________________________________________
Iwe mailing list
Iwe@www.vtluug.org
http://www.vtluug.org/mailman/listinfo/iwe





Post 2 of 2:

Listadmin Salzman has evidently decided, unilaterally, that Karsten Self is not to be permitted to rejoin LUGOD's mailing lists (which came as a surprise to LUGOD's president):

From: vox-admin@lists.lugod.org                                                 
To: karsten@guildenstern.dyndns.org                                             
Subject: Request to mailing list vox rejected                                   
Date: Sat, 15 Feb 2003 23:09:56 -0800                                           
                                                                                
Your request to the vox mailing list                                            
                                                                                
    Subscription request                                                        
                                                                                
has been rejected by the list moderator.  The moderator gave the                
following reason for rejecting your request:                                    
                                                                                
"[No reason given]"                                                             
                                                                                
Any questions or comments should be directed to the list administrator          
at:                                                                             
                                                                                
    vox-admin@lists.lugod.org                                                   

(Note that this is reject indicates Karsten being summarily banned from membership at all — and that such is contrary to the officers' directives to Salzman, which he continually ignores.)




These incidents are far from unique. Salzman has caused quite a number of people to be "disappeared" from LUGOD's mailing lists during his tenure as listadmin. The sole parts of Karsten Self's case that are unique is that (1) Salzman was unable to hide the incident from public view, and (2) Karsten Self is such a universally respected member of the Linux community that even die-hard apologists for Salzman were lead to say "Huh?"

Please be advised that people you see silently disappear from LUGOD's mailing lists may have been subjected to similar treatment.




Upshot: Same Walls, New Wallpaper.

From: Rick Moen 
To: Harry Souder 
Subject: Re: [off-list] problems installing Debian on a Dell laptop
Reply-To:
In-Reply-To: <20030224013609.GA619@rosecomputing.com>

Quoting Harry S (gnulinux@rosecomputing.com):

> For what it's worth, I attended the last Lugod meeting. It was good.
> Seems Bill Kendrick is pretty much running the meetings. A new lugod
> bylaw was passed:
[snip]
 
My view, expressed in e-mail to Bill Kendrick and Mike Simons:  Unless
and until they get the Mailman list-administration password from Pete,
and use it to see what Pete does in the group's name, he will
continue to have zero oversight, and they won't know what he's doing.

At the time that Pete locked you out of the mailing list for a good long 
while (over basically nothing at all), the officers were under the 
mistaken impression that there had merely been a brief flare-up and
you'd been pretty much immediately allowed back on.  Very recently, 
Karsten Self attempted to re-join vox-tech.  Pete denied the request.
I'll lay long odds that, again, the officers know nothing about that.

My impression is that Pete has left a long trail of such actions behind
him, out of others' view.  In light of that pattern, absent the officers
_actually exercising_ oversight over list administration, I can't help
seeing bylaws changes as not a suitable way to address these problems
(if in fact they're so intended).

> In the meantime, I will follow your lead which seems like a very
> sensible way to protest the administration of the mailing list.

Drawback:  The gesture (not posting) is essentially invisible.  One side
effect of Pete's methods is that critics vanish.

-- 
Cheers,            There are only 10 types of people in this world -- 
Rick Moen          those who understand binary arithmetic and those who don't.
rick@linuxmafia.com





Note that LUGOD's mailing list information pages have been manually truncated to conceal who is listadmin. Compare footers at the bottom of:

(The latter is a standard Mailman list-info page.)

Relevance: After controversy over Salzman's list management, the officers promised vaguely specified change and Salzman spoke of leaving Davis for the East Coast, but Karsten Self's postings continue to be rejected, apparently by Salzman, and nothing appears to have changed — except that the list-information footer suddenly disappeared, removing the public's ability to see who's running the list.