Monday, March 12, 2012

Heavy handed

This post will probably get me thrown off QRP-L for all eternity.

The other morning, I was trying to send an e-mail and Thunderbird started acting flookey. I was getting error messages that said my ISP "Cannot send message due to possible abuse" and then I also got this: "The message could not be sent because the connection to SMTP server was lost in the middle of the transaction. Try again or contact your network administrator."

The situation was like this all day Saturday, so when sending e-mails, I had to use the Web based client that Verizon Yahoo offers.

No big deal really, in the scheme of things.  But later on that day, I saw that Terry KQ5U was experiencing the EXACT same problem and he posted about it as an Off Topic on QRP-L.  Wishing to communicate with him about it, but not wishing to tie up the e-mail reflector, we shared a couple of direct e-mails.

Thunderbird started acting normally for me on Sunday morning; but then gave me the same error Sunday afternoon and evening.  For the record, it seems to be all right today.  And I would have to say that in all, there were less than a half dozen posts about this on QRP-L.

Then I saw this today, and quite frankly, it rubbed me the wrong way.

"QRP-L mailman list,

Just a reminder, we don't use OT in the subject or have Off Topic posts on this list. Especially when it comes to computer operating systems. Please take that elsewhere please.

This list is to be use for QRP and ham radio related topics. Some think this is a fine line since many of us have computers attached to our rigs, it is not.

Antenna modeling, SDR's, logging and control are OK to discuss on the list, but I draw the line on operating systems. Guys that want to continue pushing this will be moderated without warning.

If you have any questions on this contact me direct and NOT to the list.

Thank you and 73 qrp-l moderator."

Now, first off ...... this is a private list that is run by someone.  Who that someone is, I am not sure and really, do not even want to know.  That said person sets rules and that we are expected to follow them is also fine.  I have no qualms with any of that.  That this notice was posted didn't even bother me.

Here's what bothered me, this one single, line:  "Guys that want to continue pushing this will be moderated without warning."

There were a grand total of less than 1/2 dozen posts regarding this; and the originator, Terry KQ5U was looking for assistance.  And he came looking for that assistance to  a group of guys that are very knowledgeable on a wide variety of topics.  The fact that there were so few posts about it didn't warrant the reaction, in my book.  And the "challenge" to anyone who might have offered some valuable information or tips seemed to be way off base in my most humble opinion.

In the past years, I have seen some really mundane topics that had NOTHING to do with QRP, just beaten to death on QRP-L, without one iota of comment from anyone.  This one, where someone was looking for some help with regards to an e-mail client (and NOT an operating system as was erroneously pointed out) so that he could continue posting to the list, just seems rather arbitrary and heavy handed to me.

Like I said, if this gets me banned from QRP-L in a snit of retaliation - so be it, but what's right is right. The list owner's announcement was correct and reasonable - the implied threat wasn't.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


  1. The Internet abounds with little tin gods Larry.

  2. These guys are coming from a mindset of when starting a LISTSERV (tm) was difficult and rare. Now it's not, but the mindset remains.

    A discussion forum can be helped or hindered by its rules. If the rules chase out irrelevant crap posts and encourage fluid discussion, they're a net positive. If the rules chase out intelligent participants, it's a net negative.

    I was once on a very high traffic list where everything was allowed except for ad hominem attacks, which would get you banned from posting (but not reading) for 30 days. People came back chagrined and ready to discuss things on their merits.