* Do we have to put up with abuse? *


Richard Moore

Dear c-r,

        This is an unusual posting, and was not an easy call to make, but I
believe to allow the current situaton to continue would be a disservice to
the list and to cyber rights efforts.

        I'm referring to the flare-up we've observed arising from Marilyn's
posting of a proposed "consensus action".  I don't think her posting was at
all objectonable -- even though it certainly wasn't the breakthrough of
consensus that she hoped it would be.  In any case, I don't think her
posting or her proposal are at issue here.  I do think, however, that Craig
Johnson's behavior _is_ at issue, and has become an increasing problem that
must be dealt with.

        Craig contributes very signifcantly to CPSR and to cyber rights,
probably as much as any other single individual who isn't on staff.  That's
great, my hat's off to him... kudos, thanks, keep-up-the-good-work, etc.
are all very much in order.  His dedication has been the very reason I've
withheld from seriously objecting to his online behavior in the past.  But
I think we've now reached a situation where the status-quo cyber-rights
"regime" is incompatible with the productive functioning of the list.

        Being a co-moderator is a role whose only purpose is to
_facilitate_ productive discussion on the list.  One does not need to be
co-moderator to submit significant posts or to contribute issue-leadership
to the list.  And one doesn't need to be a co-moderator to draft position
papers and file FCC petitions for CPSR.  And for sure, "co-moderator" is
not a "reward" to be given to someone who can't handle the job, in return
for services rendered in other areas.

        Some of Craig's recent postings are outstanding examples of the
worst _problems_ moderators must deal with -- they are the opposite of
"facilitation".  They are irate, over-personal, unproductive, divisive, and
include slurs and intentionally hurtful insults.  If they had been
submitted by a "mere" subscriber, a typical moderator would have rejected
them, with a polite note, and then waited in dread for the inevitable
outrage and abuse that would be heaped upon him by such a frustration-prone

        You might ask why I don't take this up with Craig, privately, or
discuss it among the "co-leaders".  The answer is: "Been there, Done that,
Have the scars to prove it".  My experience, over many episodes and a long
period of time, is that Craig is simply unable to deal with criticism, or
more accurately, _perceived_ criticism.  At the most trivial provocations,
he _frequently_ flips into childish temper-tantrums, with all guns blazing,
and all self-control obviously inoperative.  I've been the recipient of
many long, rambling attacks with multiple gratuituous obscenities per
sentence.  The next day, he goes on as if nothing had happened, and expects
everyone to forgive him.  We all have people like this in our families --
you know, everyone tiptoes around them, and fears they're going to make
disasters of family gatherings.  They usually succeed in getting their way
through such intimidation, since they set the price of disagreement so
high.  One cannot discuss controversial matters with such a person.

        As long as his outbursts were confined to the co-leader "family",
I've tended to ignore them, although the ability of the co-leaders to work
as a team has suffered by this climate of intimidation.  But for such a
loose-cannon, control-compulsive personality to have his finger on the
post-immediate button of the cyber-rights list is, in my opinion, no longer
to be tolerated.  I hereby request that Craig resign that privilege, and
appeal to Andy to take action otherwise.  I request this as founder of
Cyber Rights, member of the CPSR Working Group, member of the informal
"co-leader" team, and as a concerned member of the cyber-rights list.

        It is true that this is the only such episode that has occurred
thus far on the c-r list, but notice that the occasion was one of those
very few where a c-r member was proposing that an `action' be taken, and
that the episode has spread over several posts.  I believe it is
appropriate that member intitiatives be encouraged and discussed
rationally, not ridiculed.  Given Craig's persistent behavior on the
co-leader list, which has now begun to spill over onto c-r, I don't think
this first episode should be allowed to pass.  As long as Craig has his
finger on the posting button, the threat of rude intimidation is always
there, and Marilyn or others are faced with what the ACLU calls a "chilling

        It needs to be said that the statements Craig has made about
"co-leaders" and their role are his own opinions, and were not discussed or
agreed to by anyone else (so far as I know).  I don't want to get into
those details here, but clearly the role of working group, co-leaders,
co-moderators, et al, will need to be discussed and clarified when we get
past this current rough spot.  There most assuredly should _not_ be (IMHO)
a regime where co-leaders are slowing down progress on the list instead of
seeking to encourage it, valuing control over participation, and heaping
insults upon sincere contributing members.

        I feel I must apologize in advance for the unimaginably offensive
response Craig will probably post (within minutes of receiving this).  I've
personally reached the point where I just don't have room for his abuse in
my life, and can't tiptoe any longer.  The chips, unfortunately, must fall
where they may.

        Just for the record, find below a few of the statements that, to
me, are unnaceptable, not-on, out-of-line -- at least for a "moderator".
Even more significant than rude language, however, was the overall intent
to stifle debate and sqelch contributions which Craig couldn't find the
time to respond to substantively.  The obscenties to which co-leaders have
been subjected are much worse than what appears below.

Richard K. Moore
6 April 1996

Craig A. Johnson wrote:
>There is such a thing as netiquette, and Ms. Davis badly needs to
>learn something about the medium on which she pontificates so
>I will not pursue this any further.  Sign up for com priv, peruse
>their archives and learn something so you can speak in an informed
>You OTOH are a newbie, and maybe should read and learn before you run
>your mouth.
>Excuse me, I'll say whatever I damn well please.

 Posted by Richard K. Moore  -  •••@••.•••  -  Wexford, Ireland
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