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  the thread with subject "warning" ...
From: Steve Marak samarak at arachne.uark.edu> on 2001.07.26 at 21:42:57(7141)

After a couple of miscues earlier this year where I skimmed a post and
failed to catch something down deep within it, I've altered my procedures.
Now, when something that seems of high flammibility shows up - and believe
me, I knew this group of topics qualified - I post all other less
incindiary messages and hold those for closer inspection later.

I am going to post all of the 6 or 8 outstanding posts on this topic
momentarily, but I want to make a few comments first.

As I mentioned, there are some topics that come up on list after list and
never fail to be lightning rods. Conservation and the right way to go
about it, plant import/export laws, CITES, law enforcement in general,
etc., are high on the list for botanical listserves.

Strangely, my observation is that most people polarize very quickly, and
that practically no one is ever convinced of anything except what they
thought at the outset. (Strangely, to me, because practically all of us
accept the need for some set of laws and enforcement of them, but at the
same time practically all of us would refuse to obey laws we felt were
sufficiently at odds with justice/religion/survival/etc. And we'd feel
perfectly justified doing so. And most of us admire at least some people
in history who deliberately broke laws for one reason or another. To read
some of the threads I've seen on other lists you'd think the world was
made up of nothing but rational anarchists on one side and mindless
rule-obeying robots on the other!)

Anyway, to get back to my point, this polarization and difficulty of
swaying viewpoints seems to incite people on other lists (I'm sure it
won't here) to harsher and harsher statements, leading to flame wars on
unmoderated lists and moderator intervention, usually by banning the
entire subject, on the rest.

This seems a valid topic for discussion. I don't want to wind up banning
it or refusing to post someone's message. I hope everyone will make their
points, vociferously if you like, with good humor and respect for the
person behind the electrons even when they disagree with you. The Internet
is a poor place for short fuses and hasty responses, to which,
unfortuantely, e-mail lends itself.


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