Matthew Fuller on Fri, 6 Mar 1998 22:09:48 +0100 (MET)

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<nettime> Nettime Moderation

Note on Moderation of Nettime
By Matthew Fuller and Geert Lovink

The sequence of recent posts regarding Kosovo went like this:

1. one post which was off-topic
2. other posts respond to the original post contextualising it, linking to
   web resources for further analysis, arguments about the veracity of
   information available on the web, etc.
3. posts made calling for regulation of content to be stricter.
4. the discussion moved on.
5. more information on actual situation became apparent

There are four layers of moderation on the list. The first is the delete
key on everyone's keyboard. The second is the decision of list-members to
make a post or not in relationship to the flow of posts. The third is
posts to the list and privately to individuals calling for a thread to
change or stop. The fourth is deletion at source by the moderator.

This list exists only as it is used. The negotiation of what is and what
is not suitable for inclusion on the list has been acheived by the list
itself in this case. Hopefully it works more effectively because it
doesn't give all power to the decision making of the moderator which can
never be informed as to the suitability of all messages.

This is perhaps a case in point.  Matthew forwarded the initial message
to the list. He hadn't got much of an idea what it was about - certainly
not enough to make a decision to delete it.  Not wanting to base a decision
on ignorance, he based it on a generalised -rather than specific - trust
that people would not overly abuse the list.

We believe that adopting this approach pays off because list-members
who are more informed - or at least more engaged - with the situation were
able to provide a cluster of texts which provided a context to the initial
post, and pointers outwards.

Now as the tolerance limit of other list-members is - also quiet rightly -
expressed, things begin to move on. We do not want to continue to post
these kind of nationalist messages. One could call this censorship. But
there are plenty of free and open places on the Net where this type of
provocations can be posted...

Is the Kosovo just a 'regional case'? We do not think so. Since the
beginning of the war in Former Yugoslavia (and the Gulfwar) in 1991 more
and more people are becoming aware of the role that both state-owned and
global players like CNN are playing in the spread of propaganda. A lot of
small, so-called 'independant media' are trying to come up other images
and voices and the role of media activists and the Internet is on the
rise. Famous examples are the computer network Zamir and B'92s, based in Belgrade. In the case of Kosovo many of us have been
supporting the weekly, now daily magazine 'Koha'. For us there is a direct
link between the propaganda of Milosovic (since 1987!), the installment of
marshall law in Kosovo (in 1989), the long years of peacefull resistance
of the Albanian population, the economic crisis in Serbia and the fight
for independant media and the Internet in special. Not that the conflict
in Kosovo is rapidly expanding, it is important to emphasize the media
and propaganda aspect. In order to do this, some basic knowledge (and
discussion) on the background of this struggle is sometimes neccerary.
That's why it is usefull to broaden the defintion of 'media activism' and
'net criticism' a little bit beyond the technological, cultural and
artistic levels.

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