Lately, I find disagreement among the BEE-L moderators about what is acceptable on the list.  I often seem to be in the minority and find my posts rejected for directly confronting issues and abusers when other, offensive posts (I know because you tell me) are accepted.

I am now posting here the articles I write to BEE-L which are refused by the moderators, apparently for reasons of pettiness, squeamishness or political correctness.  Feel free to send me brickbats or bouquets .   (So far bouquets predominate by 5:1, but don't let that stop you from patting me on the back).

From:    "Allen Dick"
Subject: RE: DDT
Date:    Tue, 5 Dec 2000 00:16:49 -0700

>But now I have to answer Allen's tirade.

Thank you for presenting such a good example of the cause of my concern right off the top. Hyperbole worries people and undermines a writer's credibility.

'Tirade' means -- to most of us -- something much different from the short direct, and thoughtful piece I thought I wrote. Long, haranguing and rhetorical, it was not. As for vehement criticism or invective, I certainly avoided that -- although some tell me it would have been quite appropriate.

> You ain't seen any cold rebuke yet.

Yes, I have, and I don't much respect those who consider it an art.

> > We have been deluged on this list in past months

> Every contributor is in the hands of the moderators ...I rely on them to curb excesses.

I'm sorry if that impression is out there. That is NOT the moderators' job on this list except in an emergency or in case someone begins to seriously abuse the list. It is a most distasteful job and undertaken only in extreme cases -- often with some anguish and self-doubt on the moderators' part -- and often a lack of unanimity.

> One can find out what's too much only by offering more till one gets to a
> limit which had not been evident. The net deluge is the responsibility of
> the moderators. If Allen wants them to be more restrictive, fine.

I hardly know how to respond to this. Let it suffice to say that it is not my responsibility to provide anyone but my children with good taste and a sense of respect for others. Each BEE-L member is responsible for his own manners and expected to exercise good judgement.

> > by selected, slanted opinion

> This is a serious, offensive charge. I leave it to others to judge.

And they have.

> Has some coercion been attempted on your opinions? If you feel
> some of your opinions have been challenged, perhaps they should be.

Well, this is a personal question and I wonder a little about the motives behind it, but, seeing as there seems to be some curiosity about this among my friends, I'll take it at face value and be candid here:

If the truth be known, I actually quite like to have my collection of opinions exercised and enjoy an intelligent and informed debate. However, I must add that I doubt most people know for sure what my favourite opinions are since I tend to take whatever position seems to be losing in a forum and I generally know both sides fairly well. Moreover, just because I am advocating something -- or even practice it -- does not mean I believe in it in any deep way. If you ask me directly, though, I will likely tell you my thoughts, both pro and con. Basically, I am not much of a believer. I use ideas, but don't want to own them. I give them away as fast as I can.

As for having my opinions either challenged or changed by your contributions, I had to pause to think about this, and when I thought about it, I realised that, if I am to be honest I must admit that your posts have had *less* effect on my thinking than almost any posts we receive, since I must again admit (with some embarrassment) that I actually seldom really read them. Generally I actually only skim them -- as my moderator duties require. I read every word of every short post. I read paragraphs from longer posts, and just skim over the wordy long ones unless I can see something I can use.

So, I guess that is another red herring, and I actually mean exactly what I have said.

> Many
> of mine have been not only challenged but changed, to more informed
> opinions on several topics e.g. AFB, ventilation, and most importantly
> varroa.

Hmmm. Good, I guess. We're here for an exchange, and we try to keep it balanced.

> Allen also however accuses me of

> > and wordy high-sounding dissertations

> expressing a widespread attitude to academics. What can be done
> about this?

Please don't try to hide among academics and then claim I have an attitude toward academics. If I have an issue with you, I have an issue with you, not academics in general.

What I *am* saying is that BEE-L is not a soapbox, although it can legitimately be used for that -- occasionally. The soul of good writing in the 21st century is honesty, originality, directness and brevity -- even in academia.

> This is a very old trick: find a particle of error in a person's
> evidence, and on the strength of that one error suggest that the person is
> generally unreliable.

That is not a trick, and that was not just a particle. I suppose if you had been a bit kinder in your reproach to my good friend, it might have passed unremarked.

> I had thought better of the list moderators.

I'm going to leave this one alone. I can't reach that low.

> If as I seem to think Allen is one of the moderators, then we have
> arrived at an old question, now surfacing in the form 'who moderates the
> moderator'?

This one too. If you take some time and read the docs behind this group, you'll see how it works, stop abusing it, and maybe fit in better.

> > Not everyone involved has an axe to grind.

> What is this supposed to mean? If the complaint is that I hold
> opinions which Allen dislikes, but he has not been able to argue against
> them, that is no reason to accuse anybody of having 'an axe to grind'.

I've said this before and will repeat it: BEE-L is not a vehicle for propaganda. I don't mind opinions. I like opinions -- the more the merrier. Yours are as good as anyone else's as far as I am concerned. I'm a an idea packrat and often hold several mutually conflicting opinions at once. I *need* new ideas and new twists on old ones. I find people who get stuck on one or two ideas tedious, but I was hoping that it wouldn't show.

> I feel this flareup will get resolved soonest if I add:

What flare-up? I'm standing up to you coolly and deliberately and telling you that you are abusing the list and a member I respect. No one is fooled or impressed. Please stop. Period.

> I can only urge people to direct their anger where it belongs.
> Follow Mr Goldberg...

I can only (again) urge people to *stop* abusing this list for political purposes.

And don't now imagine that I disagree with valid and growing concern over GMOs, because if you do you are really aren't getting my point.

> What alternatively may be really bothering Allen is my religious
> opinions.

Not that it matters, from what I read of them, I think I quite liked them -- even if they were enthusiastically off-topic for the list. Whether I agree with your views or not does not have anything to do with whether or not I think a post is appropriate or on topic. Please don't go looking for straw men or complicated ulterior explanations. What I said is what I meant. Period.

> As for length, I for one will make my religious statements, if any,
> much briefer. If the moderators ban religion, I will think that very
> regrettable.

Religion is part of life. Some things are best expressed in religious terms, but BEE-L is here to talk about bees ...and, FWIW, since this started the whole thing, I thought Dave's few, well chosen words expressing frustration with the simplistic evolutionary assumptions expressed routinely on the list and elsewhere was not out of line. In fact, I approved it.

However please do understand that I thought that branching out into a full theological debate *was* over the line for this group.

> So - less wordy, less religious, and I rest my case on GM

Please don't take the wrong lesson away from this. GM is not out of bounds, but please don't exhort or recruit.

Less wordy is good.

> (until someone says something wrong on it, when I'll try to correct simply, and
> will not suggest that he who erred must be generally unreliable).

Sounds good to me. You'll seem more reliable.


I am replying to the list since I found this on the list, but this *is* off-topic.
Too Hot for some!

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