Jameel complained about the rejection of a public service message by moderators of the Modiin community email list. The message was from parents looking for other religious parents of autistic children interested in a residential program. The sender received the following email:
Your request to the Modiin mailing list
Posting of your message titled “religious hostel for autistic children” has been rejected by the list moderator. The moderator gave the following reason for rejecting your request:
“While a worthy cause, the Modiin list is not the proper forum for this posting. The Modiin list is only for postings that specifically have to do with life in Modiin. Thank you for your cooperation.”
What a blessed town Modi’in must be, that there are no autistic children living there, and they are not part of “life in Modi’in.”
Are there handicapped parking spaces in Modi’in? We wouldn’t want to interfere with the idyllic life of Modi’in, by wasting parking spaces on handicapped people, would we?
As moderator a similar list, I’m going to side with the Modiin moderators. List owners get loads of requests. But if you let people post whatever they want, whenever they want, the list will get crowded and spammy. And that won’t do anybody any good. (For the record, I did post the message on our list.)
Jameel argues, correctly, that the message is relevant for Modiin parents. But it’s equally relevant for every part of the country. It’s not a Modiin issue and I understand why the moderators rejected it, according to their guidelines.
Whether paid or volunteer, moderators take on the headache responsibility of maintaining the list. This gives them the right to make the decisions. If they let this member put his message through, they will have to explain to a hundred more why their important and relevant messages were rejected.
List moderators provide a public service and it’s in their interest to post a variety of useful announcements. But frankly, moderators don’t owe anybody anything. They aren’t required to post every important message. It’s not censorship—there are a lot of email lists in the sea. There are also blogs, newspapers, forums, and bulletin boards. But if you feel your moderators are getting “a little fascist,” as one commenter wrote, you are free to start your own list.
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