The AMTE Board has received many complaints about some posters. As a result, the Board is meeting this week in DC to decide how to respond. The Board wishes to be responsive to its membership but does not wish to act precipitously.
In the meantime, there are a few ways that you can deal with the irritations of life on the Internet. :)
1. You should continue to post the kinds of messages you think are appropriate and respond to those that you consider appropriate and which interest you. If you fail to do this, you are abandoning your listserve and helping to increase the percentage of negative and inflamatory posts. 2. It is easy to identify the posters who bother you. I'd recommend that you just delete their posts without ever reading them. There is a small possibility that you will miss something worthwhile, but the risk is, I think, minimal. 3. You might consider deleting the posts of those who respond to the posters who bother you. No doubt many of them are well intentioned and have things of value to say, but you can at least avoid the constant reminders of the behavior that upsets you. The risk of missing something valuable is higher, of course. 4. It is also relatively easy to identify the subjects or topics which are most likely to contain constant references to the posts which bother you. You can delete them without reading as well. But, again, the risk of missing something continues to rise. 5. Alternatively, I know that some subscribers will read anything posted by certain individuals, regardless of topic, whether they are responding to bothersome posters or not. Clearly, each of us has our own way of dealing with bothersome posters or posts. But all contain some risks. 6. Now, I know from experience on some other listserves that there are some individuals who join a listserve from time to time for the express purpose of disrupting or destroying that listserve. They have no genuine interest in any of the discussions. You couldn't convince them of anything, even if you argued all semester. But you can't let even those kind of people deprive you of your right to converse with others in your profession who have similar interests as yourself. 7. I think this listserve is worth saving, so I am going to continue to read it when I can, post when I think I have something worthwhile to say. I personally am opposed to censorship. So, I am unlikely to ever vote for monitoring posts or throwing anyone off a list. But, I will certainly listen carefully to any proposals that are made that will improve the quality of the listserve. And, I can assure you that some members of the Board disagree with my view! So, I suspect that the Board will definitely take some action this week but cannot predict what it will be. [It also helps if you can be a little more "thick-skinned" and not so sensitive to criticism. You have to realize that some posters are deliberately "baiting" the membership, just hoping for someone to take umbrage and respond. I'd advocate resisting the urge. But, if you can't and feel you must respond, do it. As far as I'm concerned that's what freedom of speech is all about. :)
Ron Ward/Western Washington U/Bellingham, WA 98225