From: Steven J. Coker
Date: September 01, 1998

Dear Cathy,

If you don't like the service, then you are absolutely free and correct in not
choosing to participate.  This is a voluntary association provided as a free
service.  Anyone who doesn't like it should leave and seek out a service that
better suits their needs and sensibilities.  Those who can accept or tolerate
the system are welcome to remain and participate.

The few messages (3 if my remembrance is correct) that you refer to about the
"rules" were posted to provide explanations and feedback of general interest
about comments and questions people have sent to me privately. I responded to
each of these messages, and others, privately.  When I perceived the topic was
of a general interest, I reformulated my response to the broader audience and
posted it into the Forum.

You are correct in your conclusion that the Forum is operated as a benevolent
dictatorship.  I've said that several times in previous discussions in the
Forum.  This is not a democracy.  I would prefer it be such, but, with current
technology, there is no practicable and functional way to run an email group as
a democracy.  

This Forum is, and has been, under my management and control since the original
founder asked me to take it over around last March.  With a few brief
exceptions, I feel that I've done an above average job of running the Forum. 
The way the Forum works, the rules, topics, and operations of the Forum are
determined at my discretion.  The subscribers don't get to vote.  I can make the
Forum topic and rules whatever I choose.  If I wanted, I could declare that the
Forum topic was restricted to discussions of left-handed, one legged, red
headed, Scots-Irish Immigrants that fought in the French Indian Wars and who had
at least three blond haired, female progeny who lived in Ninety-Six District of
SC during the year 1767.  But, I've tried to employ a broader perspective than
that.  And I've often discussed and invited the subscribers to provide me their
thoughts and opinions on Forum Management.

From your comment about having studied my "homepage" I can't help but wonder if
your apparent vehement dislike for the Forum might not be colored by your
reaction to my personal opinions and discussions about racism, the KKK,
intolerance, hatred, right-winged wacko's, religious fanatics, or other topics
about which I've freely voiced my thoughts on my personal web pages.  While
those personal opinions have little to do with how I operate the Forum, I have
no pangs of conscience at anyone's disagreement with my considered and sincerely
expressed opinions.

Regardless of the cause, if you don't feel the service meets your needs, or you
don't feel comfortable here, then you are free to seek, or create, someplace
where you feel more at home.  It is not a requirement that participants agree
with me, or that they like or agree with my personal opinions.  It is a
requirement that they comply with the Forum Policy Statements.

Respectfully yours, 

Steven J. Coker

Cathy Ailstock wrote:
> This is enough for me. I have sat here and watched one after another post come in
> from you, Steve in regards on how you want this list to go.  Folks cannot possibly
> keep up with all your RULES.  This is not a list, it is a dictatorship, and you are
> the dictator!  After reviewing your "homepage" I know even more that I do not want to
> be a part of this list.  I have sat here night after night trying hard to ignore your
> lengthily responses  that are to inform people on what they should or should not
> post.  You want the list to keep things "short and sweet" but you are so long-winded
> that by the time one reads all that you have written, one loses track of what the
> intent of what you are trying to convey.  Keep your list, I don't need it. But before
> I leave I will tell you this, this list is the worst one of the 25 lists that I am
> on.  It is sad that you in your haste to "remind, inform and demand" people to do
> this and that, you are intimidating most folks into not posting at all, so they
> simply lurk in the background hoping someone will post something that will relate to
> them and then they can reply to the person privately.  I for one am not easily
> intimidated.  Remember, after I unsubscribe, I can not defend myself as I know that
> you will not be able to refrain from responding to this as you hate to get mail like
> this through the list.  But you know?  I could care less what you say about me.  I
> have had enough mail sent to me about you and your list, that I have stored on
> floppies.  So go for it, Steve.  RULE your list.   Your list now has 599 subscribers!
> Cathy Ailstock

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