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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Taylor Roberts <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 24 Mar 2008 13:30:41 -0400
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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When I gave up the job of coordinator in 1997, Kevin J. Bochynski and 
Barbara Schmidt both rescued the Forum when it otherwise would have shut 
down, and so we all owe them our gratitude.  I hope they will keep on, as 
they are doing an amazing job.  My only other long-standing subscription 
to a mailing list is to LINGUIST (for linguistics scholars), which has 
been fully moderated from its beginning ca. 1990, and which would never 
post racial epithets outside of an academic/historic discussion of the 
terms themselves (as with, for example, the n-word in HF here on the 
Forum).  The LINGUIST list also holds annual PBS-style fund drives in 
order to pay the sizeable crew of grad student editors to do the work (and 
pay the expenses) that Kevin and Barbara have undertaken on the Forum 
these last 11 years solely out of their own generosity.

Kevin did the right thing by accepting the resignation of David Fears. 
It should not have to be formally stated that racial epithets are not 
welcome on this list, and it is unfortunate when a hatchet job falls to a 
gentleman like Kevin.  For subscribers who don't like the policy, as with 
so many things in life, you don't have to like it, but you do have to 
comply.  Kevin is not someone to act rashly, and I know he would not have 
been happy to pull the plug here, especially since David Fears himself 
appears to have made an important contribution to MT studies with his 
ongoing chronology (though I haven't actually seen vol. 1, but am only 
judging from its description).

When I started this list in 1992, I had intended it to be "for persons 
having a scholarly interest in the life and writings of Mark Twain," a 
purposefully vague description that I had hoped would encourage 
subscribers to police themselves, and I think we've all done this job 
well, with a few exceptions.  I know that some people have been afraid to 
post to the list for fear of not appearing 'scholarly' enough; I've always 
thought it just as well, not because those people's postings might not 
have been suitable or interesting, but because generally I think it's 
better to err on the side of less e-mail rather than more.  Others have 
disagreed, and accordingly I always stepped back from moderating the list 
except when intervention seemed necessary, a policy that Kevin also 
appears to follow.

In that spirit, I apologize for posting this non-MT message long after the 
initial scuffle.  I'm on 'digest' mode and so only receive the postings 
weekly, on Monday morning.  I'm happy to be remembered fondly by some of 
the long standing subscribers, and I thank them for their contributions 
over the years.  I'm sorry to see some of them leave, and I hope they will 
reconsider now that order has been restored.

Taylor Roberts