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Email Lists; Beneficial or a Waste of Time

Ever since I got email back in 1998, I've been a part of many different email lists. I've picked up a lot of really helpful tips from these lists, and still do from time to time. I've even moderated a few lists, and so can appreciate the time and effort that goes into them -- especially the high-traffic ones. There's one list in particular that I've been on, almost since its inception. I gained so much valuable information from that list, and have so many saved messages with, just stuff. The list creator turned the list over to another moderator for a while. For some unknown reason, at that point I was placed on moderated status, (and still don't have a clue why to this day). Eventually, the original creator took the list back. Later it was turned over to yet another moderator. Throughout each of these moderators, despite my time on moderation, I continued to get much out of the list. About a year ago, this list was turned over to yet another person. At that point, things started to go downhill in my opinion. The moderator was nearly constantly absent from any sort of list moderation, and pretty much anything and everything got posted. Because of the absolutely unreal volume of messages, and the fact that I was getting absolutely nothing out of the list, for the first time in several years I unsubscribed.

In that time, I've resubscribed a couple of times. Each time I do, I've had something that I've wanted to have answered. I found that, in 99 percent of the cases, my questions went completely unanswered, while other people, who have proven themselves time and time again to be obnoxious and rude had their questions answered in threads that went on for days. Then there is a specific list member who, for whatever reason, seems to think that he's a total authority on all things technology. He's been known to give out incorrect information, or guess at answers, just, (it seems to me), so that he can claim that he answered a post. He's been rude and condescending to other list members, but so many take everything that he has to say as law. Even on a completely un-tech related list, this individual has been known to cut down other listers who are less knowledgeable than he about things relating to the computer.

A few years ago, this person took a nine-month online course to learn about different aspects of computers, screen-readers, magnification programs, etc. Before this time, he was rather rude, but once he had this course behind him, it seemed to me that things just got so much worse.

I think the biggest problem I have though is the fact that, while this individual is being permitted to constantly spout off about things on the list, those who attempt to give him correct information are given warnings from the list moderators off list, and accused of flaming. I wrote to the moderators a few months back after one of my brief subscription periods expressing my concern about the unfairness of how things were being run. I was basically told that it wasn't my concern and to leave it alone. I unsubscribed shortly after that message, again because of all the off-topic and unnecessary posts.

I'm sad to see this list, which was once such a wonderful resource, going downhill so badly, and the way the moderators have very definitely picked their favorites who can do no wrong, while others, who are genuinely trying to help get constant admonishments because "big brother is watching". And, where are the moderators when more serious breaches of list etiquette occur? Obviously these people are playing favorites. Again, I've moderated lists, and I know how difficult it can be. The one thing I hope though is that even if I've made some unpopular decisions, I've always tried to be fair. To me, this is most definitely not fair. I'd love to contribute and to help others the way I was once helped, however at this point, considering the way I've been treated, and the way others have been treated, I will not be a part of this particular list until things change for the better.

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