"You have been banned from this group by the group moderator (Yahoo! ID banned: wildrun2). You may not join the group XXX."
Huh. Okay. Whatever you say. Don't know who you are, what I said to tick you off (or where I said it), but I'll just click over to Google News and search for "feral cats" for my feral cat news, instead. Thank you, and have a nice day.
The above was posted last night when I was too tired to comment intelligently. I actually knew I was banned from that list a long time ago when I tried to join. I re-tried when I received an email from a person who tried to post ONCE to the list. Their post was rejected, and they were immediately banned. They asked me if I had any experience with the listserv. So I went to check my status, and to be tickled pink again about being banned from anything.
I am generally considered to be a pretty milk-toast type of person (in public) To be considered edgy enough to ban is actually kind of sweet.
I haven't posted much on listservs for about two years but I used to be quite active. My occasional "post of spirit" (ummm...rants) were generally in response to people, on either side of the cat debate, who insisted on stereotyping all cat people as "animal rights activists" or "cat wackos" or the alternate: condemning animal control and biologists as "murderers."
I'm not a big fan of black and white reasoning and about the only thing the drives me off the deep end are people who have never even tried to manage a cat population (by any method) who issue blanket condemnations.
Listservs are wonderful things and some evolve into very special, vibrant communities. By their nature, they become a hierarchy...there are the small community of people who post regularly (these people change over time)...those who ask a question now and then, and those who lurk.
Good listservs are strong enough to survive when people leave. I check in on the listservs I really love, and you know what? They are doing just fine without me posting regularly. It's good for players to change.
Each list has an owner or moderator. Some moderators stay in the background and may not participate at all. Others quietly admonish or remove serious troublemakers and abusers. Some are quite active in their online community and may be a strong part of the lists personality. Some moderators are so "present" that the listserv is basically just them, posting information (which can be fine, if that is what the list is for).
I'm not a very good moderator. First, you need to stump for your list and get people on it. That's some serious work. With a blog, if you are happy with just a few readers, that's fine. With a listserv, you need a fairly large community to have a vibrant list. I was never very good at stumping. I had two national lists that did OK and one local listserv that was a real flop.
Rarely, I come across a listserv that is basically trying to act like a blog. It is a cult of personality for the moderator: "I like you, so you can stay. I don't think I will like what you will say even if you are polite about it, so I'll ban you." To me, that seems somewhat counter to the point of a listserv, but before blogs, there really wasn't another tool for people who wanted to gather a community of "people who think like me and come here just to read me me me me."
If you aren't there to specifically serve the online community and encourage dialogue, then it's not a listserv you want. It's a blog, where your readers choose YOU daily, you can link or not link to others, and your regular visitors will be people who want to read what you have to say.
Of course, the problem with having a blog is that people are free to criticize you on other blogs. (smile...surprise!). And even if you ban someone from leaving comments, you can't usually ban them from reading your blog. And people who have problems with control don't like that much.
Listservs can develop into closed enclaves. This is fine for groups that are in fact closed (a membership, a working group). The enclave mentality isn't so great, however, if you are claiming to be the source of information for the wider community.
Either you are one person or small group holding forth (a blog) or you are a promoter of interactive open dialogue intended to create a live personality of its own, distinct from you (a listserv moderator).
If someone is trying to do both, perhaps there is a little something going on with power issues.
There you go. I'm off to trap some kitties now.
(and maybe buy some pansies..)