Re: Nature of Telusa

Bapa Rao (brao@la.tis.com)
Tue, 22 Apr 1997 02:53:36 -0700 (PDT)


Thank you Savithri garu for the lengthy response. I find a great deal
there that calls for a response. 

....

> The main points I got out of the previous two responses were, from Palana 
> garu, "What's wrong with cross-posting to SCIT?" and from Bapa Rao garu, 
> that "Not everyone has Usenet access (to get SCIT)".  So the gist of both 
> these responses is that Telusa is essentially SCIT for those without 
> Usenet access.  That's fine.  That's what I wanted clarified.

I am sorry but this is not what I said or even intended. I made my
statement that "not everyone has access to scit" in response to an 
observation of yours  which seemed to imply that as a mailing list
telusa is redundant with scit, since any given individual can as well
read scit. (which observation was in turn based on your premise that
100% of telusa articles are piped to scit, which I disputed as well.)
My observation about people's access to scit was simply meant to point
out that there are people who cannot read _anything_ on scit, by virtue
of having no access to same. It should not be construed as an endorsement
of your hypothesis about telusa, since I emphatically disagree with 
it in fact.

> 
> Two questions out of curiosity, though.  Until very recently (as recently
> as the moderation discussion on SCIT) there was an electonic digest
> version of SCIT for those without Usenet access (this was the one where,
> to help you remember, they decided to ban anonymous posts).  What happened
> to this?  Did this now go defunct?  And has Telusa officially become the
> replacement?  

I'll just note that this question above actually "begs the question"
of telusa being indistinguishable from scit in breadth of scope. 
That latter proposition is by no means established, your view
notwithstanding.

(Never having been a subscriber to this, I don't know the
> answers).  And if Telusa has now become its replacement, isn't this a
> different purpose than the avowed one when Telusa was started?  This is
> the reason for my confusion. 
> 
> To get to some particulars of Bapa Rao garu's reply, I am not accusing 
> anyone on this list of any untoward or unethical behavior. The words 
> "collusion and conspiracy" referred to allegations by others, and  
> probably should have been in quotes to prevent any confusion.  I am 
> *definitely* not saying any vote-rigging or anything of a similar nature 
> went on; if it came across as though as I did, I apologize.

Accepted, with the comment that, in my view, even repeating some one
else's unproven allegation, with quotes or sans, is at least a 
questionable practice in civil discourse, unless one is prepared to
produce further relevant evidence or information that would add
substance to the issue, thus justifying its mention. Otherwise, it
is similar in effect to stage-whispering  that "raaju gaari pedda
bhaarya caalaa mancidi ani ULLO ceppukunTunnaaruTa." Adding the 
"Ta" at the end may confer technical immunity, but that's about it,
IMO.

> 
> The point is, there is a difference between someone saying:  "H'mm, the 
> people I need to talk to are all conveniently assembled here, so let me 
> take the opportunity to discuss some other issues, even though they have 
> nothing to do with the purpose for which we have assembled"; and: "OK, 
> now that we're all here out of observation, let's get down to our real 
> business, which is the improvement of SCIT".  
>I have been assuming (or 
> giving the benefit of doubt) all along, that it was the former situation 
> that we had here; and that being so, these digressions (as I viewed them) 
> on SCIT matters would stop once that business was taken care of, and we 
> would revert back to "the regularly scheduled programming."  Only we 
> never have reverted, and what to me were digressions became the bulk of 
> the posts.  By digressions I do not just mean discussion on the structure 
> of SCIT, but posts that are germane to SCIT but not to a literature list.

Accepting for the sake of discussion that your scenario reflects reality,
there would still be no logical difference between the two "phases" 
insofar as validity of non-literary postings to telusa is concerned. 
This is because the "improvement" as discussed in telusa exactly 
consisted of adding telusa's literary content to scit. In other words,
the definition of inappropriateness of a telusa posting does not
change materially in the two purported phases, hence the distinction
is not material. 

....

> 
> There is, for example, a writing newsgroup on Usenet. Over the past two 
> or three years, a lot of new people started posting there, completely 
> changing the nature of the group.  Many of the old-timers felt that the 
> group was no longer focussed on writing, but was spending too much time 
> on extraneous issues.  The new members replied that the majority of the 
> group *as it was now constituted* had no objection to the present topics, 
> so there was no reason to "get back on focus."  Some of the old members 
> then started a mailing list which was more specifically focussed on 
> writing.  Clearly there is much overlap between the list and the 
> newsgroup.  But the the list has never felt the need to post its contents 
> in its entirety to the newsgroup.  From time to time someone posts either 
> bemoaning the lack of writing focus of the newsgroup or asking for a more 
> writing-oriented resource.  The poster is then directed to the mailing 
> list.  In fact, the subscription information is part of the FAQ of the 
> group.  This seems to me to be very similar to what happened here.  

Since Ramakrishna P. garu demolished my bogus Sherlock Holmes quote,
I'll only say that I don't see why telusa should blindly conform to the
behavior of every other mailing list, when nonconformity 
violates neither the spirit nor the letter of scit's charter. 
(as I will argue below)

> Sreenivas garu mentions the Ghantasala list among others, and so did I, 
> to point out that the members of those lists don't apparently feel the 
> need to post their contents to SCIT (even though they would be 
> appropriate, as being part of Telugu culture), so why do the Telusa 
> members.  Sreenivas garu says it was because when Telusa was formed, most 
> of the regular posters to SCIT left, and SCIT suffered as a consequence.  
> But it is the nature of Usenet groups to evolve over time.  If the Telusa 
> members felt sufficiently disenchanted with SCIT to leave, then why are 
> they still worrying about it?  Palana garu asks what is wrong with cross-   
> posting Telusa to SCIT.  Well, aside from the fact that it violates the 
> spirit, if not the letter, of the new moderation policy (no cross-posts 

To my mind, neither the spirit nor the letter is violated. That the
letter is not violated is obvious, since telusa is not a newsgroup.
As to the spirit (to which you rightly hint the letter should be
subordinate), I will remind you that prohibiting crossposting was only a 
technical, least intrusive, but still approximate realization of the 
actual goal of "scit-improvement" which was to decrease the proportion of
non-telugu-culture-related postings in scit.  This, then, is the true
spirit of the automoderated scit-charter. Thus, no posting that is
related to Telugu culture can violate the spirit. Telusa postings
(even the non-literary ones) do relate to Telugu culture. Hence the
spirit is not violated either. 

> the answer is contained in Bapa Rao garu's reply.  He 
> states that Telusa is a mailing list that people can join by invitation 
> only.  Exactly!  This means that it is a _private_ list.  (If privacy were 
> not an issue, why make it invitation-only?)  Is there not a contradiction 

Two points. One, RP garu noted that Telusa has ceased to be invitation-only
for quite some time now. Second, _all_ mailing lists are by definition
private. They have a list owner who has the exclusive right to drop 
any address from the list of recipients. The so-called public lists 
have their subscription process automted by means of the majordomo
bulk mail management software (or similar technology). That makes the
task of the list owner easier, but he/she still retains full control
of who gets to be on the list. Note that telusa's mailing address is
not very much of a secret, and anyone with a network connection
and mail software can post to telusa, just as is the case with 
other, more automated mailing lists.

> so in a public forum?  If a child brings a pile of party invitations to a 
> classroom and proceeds to hand them out to some, but not all, of the 
> children present, we can all see the rudeness involved.  Why can we not 
> see the analogy to references to "fellow Telusa-ers", etc. on SCIT? Now, 
> someone is going to point out that Telusa members are not holding a 
> private conversation, because they are quite willing to respond to 
> comments on SCIT from non-Telusa members.  Yes, and this is where I get 
> completely lost.  If people want to post their articles to SCIT in order 
> to elicit a response from SCIT readers who are not Telusa members, then 
> what is the purpose of having a Telusa list?  

For me personally (I do have access to scit and continue to remain a 
more-or-less satisfied member of telusa), it serves the following 
purposes: (a) I enjoy the convenience of receiving telusa discussions
into my mail folder, without having to go to the bother of logging 
into a news server, and running rn, when I feel like "visiting" 
something Telugu and edifying. Reading usenet tends to be 
a "heavy-duty" operation for me, compared to reading mail. 
(b) I find that my level of interest
in Telugu literature is sufficiently satisfied by telusa, despite
the digressions. I really view telusa as a "chat-room" of literarily-
inclined folks, who will mostly discuss literature, but may occassionally
lapse into chitchat. If I may be so bold, I suggest that you perhaps 
view telusa as more of a formal meeting with a chairman, gavel, points
of order, Robert's rules, and all of that. I think that is at the
heart of our disagreement.

In my view, this philosophical outlook is the sole relevant issue 
in your irritation with telusa. Which of course is entirely your
prerogative. (I too, agree that telusa could use more focus, but 
I think it is far from being a total disaster as it now stands.)
The matters concerning scit (telusa-scit piping, the automoderation
(non?) conspiracy etc., are red herrings that detract from your
main (and eminently sensible I may add) point. 

> The only viable answer I 
> can see is Bapa Rao garu's, that it is for the benefit of those without 
> Usenet access.  Fine, but that's not what I was told was the purpose of 
> Telusa.  To address Sreenivas garu's comment on this point, if the 

Since I too didn't tell you anything like that, I hope that this
issue now stands clarified. (At least, if I came across as saying
that, please put it down to the indifferent quality of my
articulation. )

....

> to a literature list, because I am aware that these matters are not of 
> general interest to SCIT.  But I did not know if the list really was just 
> for literature discussions any more, or if there was another agenda (For 
> example, I don't know why the list operators allowed the formation of 
> another Usenet newsgroup on Telugu language and literature to go forward, 
> without pointing out that there was no need to form such a group, as 

Could it be that they weren't aware of it (not being usenet readers), 
or didn't consider it "redundant" since the proposed group was an 
alt group which has much lower propagation than "big-8" groups, and 
certainly lower than a mailing list?

> there was a mailing list devoted to just this purpose).  As for SCIT, it 
> was first going through its various throes, and, when those were over, I 
> was caught in the dilemma of the duplication of Telusa.  On the one hand, 
> I felt that I was duped into joining an action to which I would not have 

I am not sure which action you are referring to here.

> agreed had I known about it; on the other hand, I did not want to judge 
> anyone hastily, and without giving them a chance to clarify their 
> position.  Others may not feel so paralyzed by indecision.  Very well.  
> This is again my personal idiosyncracy or shortcoming, whichever you want 
> to call it.  Moreover, I had no trouble convincing myself that the 
> members of Telusa and SCIT could get along quite well without my pearls 
> of wisdom.  (It is kind of you to talk about my "eminence", Sreenivas 
> garu, but unless you take a very small pond -- say, bathtub size -- I 
> can't be considered a big fish).

Well, I have found that regular telusa posters have tended to be
intimidatingly accomplished, so maybe I am glad you didn't join 
their numbers. :-)

Fact is, newsgroups and mailing lists stand or fall by the willingness
of their readers to contribute. I agree that there is something off-putting
about do-gooders who are forever trying  to improve this, or preserve
that (all such enterprises are inherently presumptuous)
but ultimately, if we are to have any kind of worthwhile institutions
at all, it is to such people we have to look. And I suspect that a 
good part of the discomfiture in the presence of the earnest
do-gooder type is the nagging awareness that we too, should be 
doing more but aren't.

....

> Finally, Bapa Rao garu raises the question of the appropriateness of 
> this discussion on the mailing list.  There were three reasons why I 
> thought I could raise this issue here:  (1) I thought a discussion on the 
> nature and purpose of a mailing list naturally belonged on the list 
> itself; (2) I thought this topic was at least as appropriate as other 
> topics which were posted to the list; and (3)  I thought this a 
> discussion that would be better conducted on Telusa than on SCIT.

Strictly speaking, the question should have been put to the list 
owner(s) directly, (if we are to stay within the list charter, and 
that after all was the whole point) and leaving it up to the list owner's 
discretion to share the discussion/conclusions with the list members.
Regardless, I for one am glad that you decided to post, and that I had
this opportunity for a dialogue. But I think I have more than used
up my quota of telusa forbearance, and will drop this issue (for real
this time.).

Bapa Rao