Felix Stalder on 19 Sep 2000 21:18:33 -0000

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Re: <nettime> remember the kosovo war on this list?

>Also I can remember that the moderators of this list turned on the
>censorship button quite heavily during the war. Maybe I can get some
>statements about how many mails were sorted out, and why, without raising a
>long debate about censorship in general? Or please correct me if I'm dead
>wrong on this subject,

As one of the other moderators active during that time, I would simply
like to add a few points to what Ted has written earlier. Much of the
moderation activity has to do with _modulating_ the flow of messages,
rather than _changing_ the content of the list as such. The difference is
crucial. A large number of messages that are sent out through nettime-l
are modulated by the moderators. In almost all cases this means the
headers are cleared out, html junk is removed, and other faulty formatting
is straightend out. This is the main part of the moderation.

Another part of the moderation has to do with balancing the different
posts, e.g. avoiding that someone monopolizes the list by sending 20
posts/a day. In times of high traffic, this becomes more important, and
the Kosovo war was such a time. As Ted said, we reduced the number of
posts by digesting several posts into one. This, again, does change less
content of the list, but is rather it modulates it make it more

There were, to be sure, posts that we did not forward to the list during
the war. They can be grouped into two categories. One were forwards from
easily accessible news sources, such as the NYT. We did that because we
felt it to be important to make room for different voices, to be
explicitly an alternative source of information, rather than a
comprehensive source. The other type of posts, very few if I'm remember
correctly, were those that appeared to be written by secret police or
others intended to disrupt the discussion. These were usually quite
transparent propaganda.

Particularly the latter type of posts poses a problem. Should it be
forwarded or not?  There are well-known free speech vs. civil discussion
implications that cannot be easily resolved. Value conflict always remain
here. Partly because of that, we started a second feed of nettime posts, a
list called nettime-bold. This list contains all posts sent to nettime,
before the moderators see it.


Les faits sont faits.

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