LUGoD mailing list censorship policies
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
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
Censored post follows:
From: "Karsten M. Self"
To: LUGoD vox ,
Cc: IWE , firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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
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 unsubscribing 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.
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
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
[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
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):
Subject: Request to mailing list vox rejected
Date: Sat, 15 Feb 2003 23:09:56 -0800
Your request to the vox mailing list
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
(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
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 diehard apologists for Salzman were lead to
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
Quoting Harry S (firstname.lastname@example.org):
> 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:
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.
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.