Risk Analysis Discussion Group

Moderation Policies

The moderation policies of this mailing list strive to achieve a compromise between those who would prefer a complete lack of moderation and those who would prefer a clear and firm set of rules to prevent any perceived abuses in posting behavior. They are designed to be light-handed and flexible, without sanctions except when posting behavior interferes with the intended functions of the list or causes members to disengage from the list. They may change when the membership agrees that change is needed.

The Risk Analysis Discussion Group encourages free interchange of ideas without censorship in order to:

  • Encourage new ideas and avoid group-think
  • Attract new members
  • Avoid the effort needed to conduct moderation
  • Prevent the personal goals of the moderator(s) to have undue influence

Members have widely differing tolerance to perceived abuses in posting behavior and differing views of what constitutes abuse. Some of the behaviors that are irritating to some members and may cause them to disengage are:

  • Abusive language toward other members
  • Excessive use of hostile or rude language that provokes a cycle of responses
  • Overly frequent or lengthy postings, especially if limited to a narrow set of subjects
  • Excessive concentration on subjective, value-driven positions rather than on issues in risk analysis
  • Topics that appear to have little relevance to the list's focus
  • Posts that merely provide a link to an outside resource without context or linking to material behind a paywall
  • Troll-like behavior, on-list or off

The list will run more smoothly if complaints and decisions about violations of the moderation policies are few. If you find another member annoying, you may be able to deal with the problem by:

  • Ignoring posts by that member. Responding may actually encourage the problem behavior.
  • Responding substantively (and even approvingly) to aspects of the post that you don't find objectionable, ideally without any reference at all to its objectionable aspects.
  • Responding off-list with a polite request for that member to keep further exchanges on that subject off-list as well.
  • Filtering the member's posts away from your main email inbox. See the Filtering page.

Moderator Actions

Although actions may be initiated by a moderator, most will begin with a member-initiated complaint. Complaints should be sent to the moderator at the address below, not to the list!

Recognizing that judging which posting behaviors deserve moderation is inherently subjective, actions will usually be applied in stages, but egregious behavior may result in accelerated action. Usually, the stages involve:

  1. Off-list constructive warnings
  2. Moderator hold on posts
  3. Pre-emptive exclusion of offending posts
  4. Temporary suspension of posting privilege
  5. Permanent ban

Stages 4 and 5, if contested, will be subject to review by an ad hoc committee recruited from the membership.

Members can file complaints or petition for a change in the moderation policy by contacting the administrator at the email address below.