ListOwner as Protector?

It has long been my contention that listowners are responsible for what happens on the list, not what happens off the list. I've also long said that any implication of safety on an email list is dangerous to subscribers.. which includes the implication that you can vet or verify the identity of anyone subscribing to the list. Follows is an edited version of a wonderful post made to a listowner/manager email list about just these issues, placed with permission.

A listowner is a person that owns the list period! There is no ethical criteria or listowners creed or vow of protection to the list. That is ridiculous.

You don't own anyone and furthermore as a listowner you cannot guarantee anybody's safety on your list. If you are attempting to give that impression you can you are misleading people and deluding yourself. Short of running an extensive background check you have no idea who those people are, merely as a listowner or moderator, it's not really any of your business. If you are depending on gossip, second hand information and unverified information you are unfairly discriminating against someone based on your own presumptions.

These days most ISPs filter out major spammers ... other than that being public on the Internet is like having your telephone number listed, you are going to get UCE. If that is not something the average person can handle with their delete key (or trace to source ... if they have way too much time on their hands) they probably should not risk being public on the Internet.

Listowners and/or moderators do not have the power to protect their lists from evils that lurk in cyberspace, every list member should be aware of that. Listowners do not possess any omnipotent powers of protection.

In some cases the listowners are the greatest threat to their listmembers, especially if they are misleading them.

Kari Sable Burns
<karinet AT>

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