Re: The New Welcome ...a must read

Adrian Tanner (atanner@MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA)
Tue, 6 Feb 1996 13:29:16 -0330


A warm welcome to you as well. Thanks for starting off with a new run-down
of the rules and procedures of the list, which probably need to be reposted
periodically, as well as posting to each new member as they sign up (as no
doubt you are planning to do). It seems to me that among many posters in the
past the rules have been more honoured in the breach, suggesting a good deal
of apparent ignorance of them. While familiarizing members with them has to
be a somewhat gradual process of wrist-slapping, in a crisis you (or the
Board), have to be able to act on the assumption that we members all know
what all the rules are. Ignorance can be no excuse.

Along these lines, I hope that some of the remaining grey areas of the rules
can in future be filled in a bit more explicitly. For examples, instead of
referring to some unstated rules contained in certain docrines, such as
United States and International copyright law, and the ethical standards set
down by the American Anthropology Association (to which, in my comparative
ignorance, I have no particular objection), we might eventually either quote
the relevant ones in our rules, or make up our own.

On matters such as copyright and libel/slander, perhaps these are issues
faced by several lists similar to this one, and, moreover, may well include
issues that are peculiar to this particular medium. Perhaps, therefore, we
could make our rules more specific in these areas by consulting with other
compatible lists, to draw up some specific principles of list behaviour. A
further consideration which we, as anthropologists, should be particularly
sensitive, is what I would hope are the international and multicultural
(even if largely unilingual) ideals of electronic lists like this one. We
need to take care that in our rules we do not to unwittingly introduce any
inappropriate cultural bias. I include here the need to recognize tendencies
towards academic, as well as to national and ethnic, cultural bias. On the
matter of gender bias, by contrast, we are fortunate in having faithful and
persistent, if at times bad-tempered, watchdogs within our membership who
never tire of trying to keep the rest of us in line.

Finally, please forgive the democratic tone of what I have just written, as
if the rules of the list were a matter to be decided by a consensus of the
members. I understand that this is a privilege held exclusively by the
Board, and my comments are merely offered as the suggestions of a grateful user.

Adrian Tanner, Dept of Anthropology, Memorial University, St John's,
Newfoundland, Canada. A1C 5S7. email Tel 709 737
8868 fax 737 8686