Johnson's Removal from Anthro-l

Anthro-l Listowners & JWA Editors (ANTOWNER@UBVM.BITNET)
Mon, 13 Mar 1995 14:54:18 EST

This is to publicly inform both Robert Johnson and
the subscribers to Anthro-l that I have just ended
his subscription to Anthro-l. First of all I would
like to say thank you for all the concerned posts
by people regarding this decision. It was not a
decision that I made happily, nor is it one which I
ever want to make again. As one of you pointed out,
I perhaps should not discuss the issues surrounding
this decision on the list, but I think that you all
have a right to know at least a little of my

For your information, Johnson is more than welcome to
rejoin Anthro-l, as soon as he satisfies us and you
all that he is willing to obey the basic guidelines of
Anthro-l which are elaborated below. I urge any of
you who feel he has been censored or oppressed to
retain your desire to protest on Anthro-l and instead
spend your energies convincing Johnson that he should
follow the list's guidelines and return. In the
meantime, he is more than welcome to send postings to
me and I will certainly forward them to the list. He
is not cut off from the list unless he choose to be.

Now, let me state clearly, anthro-l is NOT a democracy.
While Usenet lists come close to that, Anthro-l is a
listserv list which requires human governance to keep
it running. It is literally impossible for you, dear
subscribers, to run this list. That task is up to me.
Mostly that involves helping people subscribe, change
their subscription settings, unsubscribe, and find
information on the Net. In normal circumstances,
Anthro-l is an ummoderated list, operated out of the
University at Buffalo, and maintained by myself, and
as times Ezra Zubrow. While the courts have not yet
set sufficient precedent for us to be really sure, it
appears we may be to a certain extent legally
responsible for what people post to this list, a
responsibility we do not take lightly. Ezra and I
long ago made the decision not to moderate Anthro-l
and to let you the subscribers act almost completely
as you please. While we welcome your opinions, and
indeed, prefer to act as absentee landlords, we retain
the right to step in where we deem necessary. This
approach is the minimum needed to operate a list
successfully that has around over 1000 subscribers
located in every continent except Antarctica.

However, as many of you are no doubt aware, there are
on the Internet three simple, friendly, fundamental
rules that comprise part of what is considered
"netiquette". They are as follows:

1) Statements that are libelous, or that might be
construed as libelous, are not allowed.

2) Forwarding of any privately received messages to
a public forum without permission of the original
sender is not tolerated.

3) Use of the Net for commercial uses, particularly
advertising (spamming) is not tolerated, and is actually
forbidden on the NSF end of the Net (which is where
Anthro-l sits).

Abuses in these areas can result in sanctions ranging
from total expulsion to warnings and probation. We have
chosen to codify these rules into our list guidelines.
These are posted monthly in the file "anthro-l purpose"
and when you subscribe "anthro-l welcome". I also posted
them again today and they are also available at any time
by sending the command get anthro-l xxxxx to the
automated listserver
Please note that abuses to these rules are dealt with first
by cautionary statements and only if later necessary by
loss of priviledges.

As those of you who have been following the activities of
Robert Johnson on this list from the very beginning will
already know, he has many times been in violation of those
first two rules. He has several times posted what I have
deemed to be potentially libelous statements, stating
that colleagues had "lied", and also relating to events
surrounding the departure of an individual from a major
US university. These allegations were never substantiated,
and thus created a potentially libelous situation for
Anthro-l. Such abuse exposes this university, the
listowners, and Johnson himself to legal repercussions.
While he may choose not to care, I and my university
certainly do.

Secondly, Johnson regularly forwarded messages to Anthro-l
that had been sent to him privately, without acquiring the
necessary permission. While some of you might feel that
such behaviour is not serious, it endangers the ability of
people to speak freely in the contexts in which they so
choose, and further is conduct unbecoming to a scholar.
Anthro-l strives to be a scholarly list and thus we deem
this important.

Johnson's activities resulted in a series of three warnings
from me. In each I pointed out what he had done and that
it was not allowed on Anthro-l. In each I asked him to
please follow the rules of Anthro-l. After all my cautions
were ignored, I told him that if he did not conform within
two days, he would be removed from Anthro-l. He did not
and has therefore chosen by his inaction to leave Anthro-l.
(I know he received the messages because he replied to me
personally, and also forwarded a fragment of the third one
to the list!)

I believe that my behaviour in this regard was extremely
tolerant within the guidelines established for this list.
If you are interested in digging up the details of his
postings, I suggest you consult the excellent archives
established by Danny Yee at the University of Sydney.
Thank you all very much for your tolerance, understanding,
and continued presence on Anthro-l.

Hugh Jarvis
Anthro-l Listowner

_________________ANTHRO-L Listowners________________
_Journal of World Anthropology_ Editors

Please note: messages posted on anthro-l reflect the opinions of
those who posted them, and do not necessarily reflect the views
of the listowners, the Department of Anthropology, or the State
University of New York at Buffalo.