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Re: Moderation vs. non-moderation posted by Mr. Sanjeev




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Postings not related to the writing of the Manifesto or policy chapters
are likely to be summarily rejected. Thanks for your understanding. IPI
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I subscribed to IPI on 22nd December 1998. Although I contributed only 
once for the debate, I have been spending several hours studying the 
material in the IPI web site. Thanks to the contributions made by some 
dedicated workers, the debate has been kept alive. In order for the 
debate to deliver the intended results, it is however necessary for the 
IPI to make certain revisions in its policies. It should remove 
misunderstandings in a section of its subscribers and make people from 
all over the world, including India, to participate in the debates in a 
big way.

The purpose of moderation is to improve the quality of debate, to 
attract the best brains of India for whom bandwidth is a problem, and 
edit some messages for deleting objectionable words and useless 
appendages of repetitive nature. Besides, there is need for outright 
deletion of messages carrying advertisements, carbon copies of some 
irrelevant news-items, and irrelevant mail sent inadvertently. As IPI 
has no full-time moderator, many of the debates screened still carry 
objectionable/unnecessary material. Some debaters do not like their 
material being edited or rejected by the moderator. The best thing would 
be to discontinue moderation at the initial level and publish all the 
messages without any screening. It may be noted that there are a number 
of high-quality discussions going in the other web sites without the 
intervention of a moderator and still they are being run successfully. 

The procedure followed presently is such that a subscriber has no need 
to visit the IPI web site at all. Debates are posted directly into the 
subscribers' mailboxes, while subscribers send their messages directly 
from their mail boxes. This should be discontinued. This method does not 
help to increase the traffic to the web site, which is necessary to 
attract advertisements. After all for the free service rendered by the 
host, he should get some return. In the IPI web site, there should be a 
page for publishing all the recently received messages. To initiate or 
reply to a debate, the box for composing should also be in the same web 
page. If this method is practiced, the material presently found as a 
header to each message (i.e., routing information useful for tracing 
messages only) can be completely avoided. The signature of the sender, 
which in some cases occupying a few lines, will also get avoided. In the 
new procedure, the chances of inadvertent mail being posted are 
minimized. As soon as it is discovered, the moderator can delete a 
published message carrying an advertisement or objectionable\irrelevant 
material. There will be then transparency in the work of the moderator. 

The moderator can post a weekly letter to the subscribers' mailboxes 
giving a gist of the debating material received during that week. 
Viewers from India who earlier unsubscribed to the debate because of 
bandwidth problem would then be happy to once again subscribe.  Based on 
the information posted by the moderator, the subscribers will visit the 
web site to read or participate in the web sites. Others who cannot wait 
for the moderator's letter can visit the web site, as many times they 
want. There is no doubt that moderators have a great role to play for 
IPI to succeed in its mission. But at the same time, IPI should strive 
to avert any class war among the debaters.

Under the present conditions, the participants to any web-based debate 
will be mostly from developed countries where facilities are available 
to browse the web for long hours. Such a facility is there only to some 
extent in about 30 cities in India, where only one can be connected to 
the Internet by paying local telephone charges. Even there, only a few 
can afford the luxury of browsing the web for long hours. In  the rest 
of  India, the quality of service is still worse and, as one has to pay 
long-distance charges, the cost of web browsing is prohibitively high. 
People stationed in India can hope to participate in a web-based debate 
if only privatization and healthy competition provide low cost access to 
Internet on a large scale. This may never take place or take place in a 
few years time depending on the policies pursued by the Government of 
India.

Thanks

Jagadiswara Rao






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