Seeing a sudden furore on the DBM mailing list, triggered by a mail (about a job opening) posted by one member today made me spend the whole day going back to all those mails on this list where I have been a victim of such censorship, of a few members thinking themselves to be so full of wisdom that they think its their moral responsibility to decide what's fit and what's not for this whole group. I went back reading and recalling how being vocal about a certain topic bother other members so much that they leave this forum forever, how initially this place was so full of ownership egos and it was so well defined who is an outsider and who insider. How there has been occassion when democracy has been completely repudiated on this list when moderators took policy decisions on behalf of 100s of us. I created a google note back copy pasting each of those mails there word by word making doodh ka doodh and pani ka pani. But I don't intend to share that note book coz then a lot of dead would be unearthed. Bitter memories would be refreshed not only in my mind but also in those with who I have patched up now.
But I would still make my point here. Umpteen numbers of time I have been told and have seen those wise men telling other rebels like me that there are certain kind of mails which are NOT to be posted on the mailing list (a public forum) and instead should only be restricted to personal blogs. The punchline of censorship. Shall we challenge it?
I would just quote the very latest in this regard. It was a post wrote by paavani on her blog. I expressed my opinion on that on the mailing list. Of all that followed, the most significant was this conclusion, that my biggest mistake was to have written what I wanted to write to the entire mailing list and not restricted myself to Paavani's blog ONLY. And such virtual attack followed inspite of me having given a proper disclaimer in these words
"Hi, This is my reaction to Paavani's post. First I started writing in her comments section, then I thought of mailing it here. Then I thought it would be safest to post it on my blog since it might have objectionable content. Seems like its bad luck day for me... blogger.com isn't working again...can't even publish so am mailing again."
Message No. 2193 is a farewell message of a member where he clearly mentions he no longers wishes to remain a part of this group because he doesn't like some member expressing too much.
I almost left the group when the whole alternative DBM issue happened bcos I didn't agree with a lot of vocal members who "protested" for whatever reasons against the new group.
Goes to show how difficult it is to express yourself on the list. Seems like people here are sitting with their sentiment in hands just waiting to be hurt. Just about 200 of us and so much of tention already. What we write in our blogs affects the entire nation. And we think that need not be controlled?
Coming to another side of this whole issue. What is Topic to begin with so as to decided what's off topic. Now this is where lies the philosophy of control. Those so called wise men, those flag bearers, those who think its important to keep certain things in certain order and therefore telling us DO NOT do anything which is Off topic, off tradition, off culture, off religion. They don't trust that every adult mature person have their own sense of right and wrong. On this list I am aware of instances (Msg no. 1065) when one member has requested the moderator to throw a certain non acceptable member away from the list and a third member taking stand against such a request (msg no. 1088). So who decides what's right and wrong.
Let's take the present example. The logic is that since each mail that is shot on the list reaches inboxes of 100s of members who then get annoyed by off topic mails. Ok agreed but then when they agreed to recieve mails in their inbox they should keep some space for some off topic mails also. No one is perfect. So assuming X has shot an off topic mail, the rest have only few options (1) ignore it. (2) Ignore it but at the same time inform this person nicely in private that you didn't like the off topic mail. But that's all one can do and if that doesn't work well just bear with it, he is a fellow member. Of course if things go way beyond tolerance, if such (so called) off topic mails become too frequent then one needs to think of a way to put full stop.
My simplest of expression in this list (Msg No. 1484) of having made some new friends and a note of thanks to them have been objected by the then moderator and few other members (privately thankfully). I was softly told I should avoid posting such mails as then the other members feels left out.
I can go on and on but my eyes hurting now. I virtually spent my whole day doing this. I am not always politically correct. I take sides and have no fear saying Prashant's mail wasn't that off topic and Joydeep and Priyanka's mails were extremely uncalled for.