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.