Volume 10 Number 18
                       Produced: Tue Nov 23 14:27:20 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Archiving and Moderating of Mail-Jewish (3)
         [Avi Feldblum, Sam Gamoran, Seth Ness]
Archiving of Mail-Jewish (2)
         [Steven Edell, Arthur Roth]


From: <mljewish@...> (Avi Feldblum)
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 93 13:07:12 EST
Subject: Archiving and Moderating of Mail-Jewish

I would like to respond to a few items in Joe's recent posting about
archiving of mail-jewish, although based on a conversation with him,
this is just a small portion of his complaints about the way I am
running this list.

To first clarify one point, at this time I have no plans to stop the
archiving, and I did not participate in the raising of this issue. If it
is the consensus of the list to stop the archiving, I am willing to do
so, but the few notes I have received so far do not indicate that the
rest of the list would like to stop the archiving

I am not sure what Joe means by saying that the degree of formality in
m.j has become very blurred. The list has evolved over the years, from
the early days when there were a handful of us to now where there are
approaching a thousand names in the subscriber file. The volume has also
significantly increased, and that is a major issue that we will need to
deal with. The material that is sent in is edited in a fairly minor
manner, based on what I catch as I read it the first time I see it, and
again when I put the issue together. If more major editing is needed, I
send the article back to submitter, with my comments about what needs to
be done.

I don't think that email archives of mailing lists, which is quite
common for both moderated and unmoderated lists, says anything about
"something tangible is being accomplished". I truly doubt that anyone
thinks that mail-jewish statement are "authoritative". The main purpose
is to make it easy for people to get past issues, either after they have
been on vacation, unconnected, or when they want to see what has been
discussed on a topic in the past. The issue of the availability of
statements people make on electronic forums being available (much of
Usenet is probably being archived somewhere) is one that is being
discussed in the general electronic world, as more and more people get
hooked up to the "Information Superhighway". It is true that we (and you
can read the we as mail-jewish and as email-connected individuals) are
no longer the small select club we were ten years ago. Conventions are
changing, maybe faster than we are ready to deal with them.

A few specific statements at the end of Joe's posting needs correction,

> Archiving may set limits on volume and length of mailings.

Archiving of the issues of the mailing list sets no limits on volume and
length of mailings. The existence of the more general mail-jewish
archive area allows longer length articles that would be rejected as
submissions to the mailing list to be placed in the archive area and a
short summary of the article to be placed in the mailing list.

> Otherwise unnecessary effort is required to archive.

The archiving of issues is done automatically by the listserv software.
Prior to archiving I would receive requests for old issues and would try
to service those requests. Archiving has resulted in less effort, not

> Otherwise unnecessary effort is required to index.

If Joe is referring to the fullindex file, that is generated by a perl
shell script, so does not take much effort. I would like to have that
done by cron, so that it will be updated on a regular basis and then
take no effort. There is work in getting the more general archive area
to be more gopher/WWW/Xmosaic etc friendly, but that is a totally
separate issue, I believe. 

To return to the global issues for a moment, I think it is true that the
list today is not exactly the same as the list was say 6 or 7 years ago.
But I don't think it is bad that we have been evolving. The question, as
I see it, is: are we moving in a direction that people are happy with?
If the question is, is EVERYONE happy with EVERYTHING associated on the
list, the answer is surely no. I doubt that would be possible with a
list the size of ours. I have received complaints from the "right wing"
of our members about postings from the "left wing" and similar from the
"left wing" about the "right wing". There are people who leave the list
because there is something that they do not like. There are other lists
that get created on a regular basis, and I have helped some of the new
moderators get themselves set up. But on the whole, the majority of the
email and snail mail and meeting people from the list in various places
- what I hear is that people are pretty happy with our list. 

I freely admit to running my own personal "peer" review of submissions,
if what Joe means by that is that if I have concerns about a posting I
will send it back to the submitter with my comments and concerns.
Sometimes the submitter makes the changes and then it goes out.
Sometimes the submitter feels strongly that s/he wants it to go out as
submitted, and I put it on the list with my concerns listed, either in
an Administrivia comment or using the [Mod.] bracket format. A very few
times (maybe two or three over the years, surely less than ten) I have
rejected completely a submission. Where I feel it appropriate, I have
consulted with other list members to see if they think my concerns about
a submission are justified. We have several Rabbis on the list, and I
have contacted them at times.

There are times that I use the [Mod.] brackets to partially answer a
question that comes in, to avoid many replies saying the same thing. In
addition, when there are several replies that basically say the same
thing, I may only use one, and then just acknowledge the others who also
replied. While that does take more of my time, I feel that it maintains
a higher signal level for the mailing list. I feel, and have heard from
many, that the table of contents at the beginning of the issue is very
useful. That requires that there be a usable Subject: line on the
posting. Very often there is not, so I need to create one. Where I feel
that it does not change what the submitters are saying, I will try and
use the same Subject: line for several postings on the same subject that
I combine in one issue. Most often it is just slight
spelling/capitalization changes, sometimes transliteration changes. I
find that much easier to glance at when the issue comes in the mail,
than 5 or 6 separate and slightly different content lines in the

I think I have gone on long enough here. If a majority of the list wants
to turn off the archiving, I will do so. If people have comments on the
way the list is being run, I am always interested in hearing them. If
you wish to raise the issue to the list, I will in general not stop you.
I have posted submissions critical of what I accept in the past, and
took part in the discussion of what the bounds of the list should be.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish moderator
<mljewish@...>    or   avi_feldblum@att.com

From: gamoran%<milcse@...> (Sam Gamoran)
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 93 03:18:01 -0500
Subject: Archiving and Moderating of Mail-Jewish

Re: A modest proposal re: Archiving (Abolish it) [Joe Abeles]

I take offense at the implied criticism of the moderator (Avi Feldblum)
contained in the last paragraph of this posting.  I think Avi does
"m'al u'm'eiver (above and beyond) an arduous volunteer task putting out
these regular issues of m-j.

> ...  The effort involved in editing articles is significant compared to
> what it would be to merely screen them for anti-orthodox-jewish content...

Screening is exactly what is being done here.  I also generally find Avi's
[mod.] comments helpful in tying together an earlier train of thought.

As far as archiving goes:  I'd like to hear about the cost of maintaining
this stuff 'forever'.  How long till nysernet runs out of disk?

If there were a paid staff for m-j I'd suggest dividing material into
archive categories: e.g.
- not-for-archiving (e.g. dated material relating to the upcoming Chanukah
- archive for a certain period of time (e.g. kosher facilities in such-and-such
a place - which eventually becomes outdated)
- archive forever (e.g. material about the Rav).  I am certain that this
would be too much to put on Avi's head.  Any other suggestions?

From: Seth Ness <ness@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 93 14:27:38 -0500
Subject: Archiving and Moderating of Mail-Jewish

Well, in my opinion the moderation and archiving of the list is just
right and shouldn't change.

Seth L. Ness                         Ness Gadol Hayah Sham


From: Steven Edell <edell@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 93 13:28:33 -0500
Subject: Re: Archiving of Mail-Jewish

Joe, in 10/10, puts forth many arguments both for & against archiving. 
However, this list, as such, is NOT a public list:  it is a list that Avi
maintains, he is the moderator, and he has a RIGHT to do what he feels is
best for the list, including to edit, change subject matter, reject, and,
even, ultimately, take someone off the list.

Secondly, the archives, despite all that Joe puts forth, is used by many
on the list to get back-issues, issues of special significance, and
special topics.  To not archive would mean that everyone misses this
opportunity.  For example, when I first joined this list, I ftp'ed the last
few months of ml-j, to get a taste of what's going on & to insure that I
wasn't repeating anything anyone else said.  When I lost my Internet
account & had to wait a month for a new one, I again knew that I was able
to download the old volumes that I missed out on.

As to the archiving of the present volumes, I feel that _especially_ due
to the amt of postings, doing anything else would result in (more)
stuffing of our mail-boxes.  Remember, Avi said he has more than 1,000
subscribers [B'li Eiyin Hara!].

My vote (if this IS a vote, which I hope it's not):  keep what we have.

Steven Edell, Computer Manager   Internet:<edell@...>
United Israel Appeal, Inc                   <uio@...>
(United Israel Office)            Voice:  972-2-255513
Jerusalem, Israel                 Fax  :  972-2-247261

From: <rotha@...> (Arthur Roth)
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 93 09:20:52 -0600
Subject: Archiving of Mail-Jewish

    I have found the archiving of MJ to be quite useful.  Just
recently, for example, I retrieved Sam Gamoran's enlightening
description of the Holocaust Museum in anticipation of a visit that I
will make there shortly.  I would not be in favor of the recent
suggestion to discontinue the archiving.        --- Arthur Roth


End of Volume 10 Issue 18