Mike Salovesh (t20mxs1@CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU)
Thu, 31 Aug 1995 00:42:19 -0500

Here we go again. I'm sorry to see Robert Johnson on this list after all
our unpleasant experiences with him. I'm sorry that we will be wasting
bandwidth--AGAIN!--discussing RJ rather than anthropology. I apologize
for doing so myself, but it seems necessary.

Mr. Johnson's last two messages are exceedingly strange. In the first,
he clearly engages in broadsides of defamation of character. I have a
hunch that what he said would be reasonable cause for lawsuits against
him if anyone thought it worth the time. (I would wonder, myself, if it
were sensible to take an elephant gun to a gnat--but it certainly would
be one way of disposing of the gnat.) What he says about several named
individuals certainly is insulting, and degrades this list.

His second message (I suppose there may have been more--I get ANTHRO-L in
digest form only once a day) is so sadly misinformed that some notice
must be taken.

No, Mr. Johnson, it would NOT be against the law to ban you from this or
any other mailing list. There is no established legal right to subscribe
to a mailing list. Mailing lists are NOT democratic, open societies, and
they should not be. LISTSERV mailing lists are controlled by people
called "listowners". The listowner, using the proper access codes, can
choose to lock out anyone by simple commands that are built into the
LISTSERV program. That is a given. People who do not like being cut off
can do as Mr. Johnson (and Gil Hardwick, another person who has been
banned from this list in the past) actually did: Find a mailserver that
allows them to establish their own lists.

System administrators--for example, those at the U of Colorado--might put
barriers in the way of establishing such a list through their own
systems. The reasons are obvious: people with a demonstrated record of
personal, libelous attack (Mr. Hardwick has been found guilty of just
that in an Australian court, based on e-mail messages he sent here and
elsewhere before a number of lists banned him) may continue such behavior
on their own lists. Both Mr. Johnson and Mr. Hardwick have actually done
so on the lists they control.

Right now, those who provide an e-mail home for the circulation of
defamatory messages can't know whether they might be legally liable
themselves for permitting such behavior to originate within their systems.
(The law regarding such liability is not clear, but recent attempts to
change U.S. law on these matters would place legal responsibility on
those who provide the medium as well as those who provide the message.)

We run a very clear and present danger of completely losing this list if
Mr. Johnson continues spewing his messages here. WE can be suppressed
for HIS excesses. No service provider is under any legal obligation to
serve as the originating system for ANTHRO-L.

Losing ANTHRO-L because Mr. Johnson does not seem to be able to restrain
himself is too high a price to pay for HIS misbehavior. Please dump him.

mike salovesh <> PEACE!