Robert Johnson

John Mcreery (jlm@TWICS.COM)
Mon, 13 Mar 1995 08:46:49 JST

Would this, perhaps, be time to consider the verbal imagery we use in talking
about interaction on the net? As any regular net-user knows, these kinds of
events--someone making themselves obnoxious; growing irritation; calls to
throw the bugger out; countercries of "censorship" and appeals to "freedom
of speech"--are all too common. For what it's worth, I tend to think of the
relationship of listowners to list members as similar to that of a bartender
to the crowd who hang out at his bar.

A bartender who imposes too many rules and too much of a stickler when it
comes to enforcing the rules soon finds his customers going elsewhere. The
same is true of the bartender who ignores the boor who comes in every night
and trashes the place.

Now the beauty of the net is that there are literally thousands of places where
folks can hang out. Being thrown out of one is NOT being thrown off the net.
Neither is it the equivalent of being arrested, fined, jailed, tortured or
executed for speaking out against tyranny.

It's being thrown out of the bar for making an obnoxious ass of yourself (
as determined, of course, by whatever the local culture defines as being
an "obnoxious ass.") Seen in this light, Hugh's behavior strikes me,
personally, as quite reasonable.

At the same time, however, I am struck by Professor Wang's point that the
delete key is not an effective form of feedback. I am also moved by the
plight of people like Naomi Holcomb whose access to the net is limited
or, my own case, people who pay for their Internet connection, for whom
messages not infrequently have the same status as junk fax. I find myself
longing for a "Return to Sender" key....Hmnnnnn....

Does anyone else out there have alternative images to offer?

John McCreery