[OPE-L:3265] list policy on archives

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Fri, 4 Oct 1996 06:23:58 -0700 (PDT)

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Simon's [OPE-L:3263] provides an opportunity for me to to re-raise a
question for consideration that we discussed in the Spring.

In the Spring, we had a procedural discussion about whether we wanted to
make the archives publicly available. A significant number of listmembers
opposed that proposal. The position against opening the archives was
perhaps best represented by Duncan who argued that this list was a place
where he could "let his hair down" and opening the archives would change
the character of our discussions since others would be looking over our

While there is unanimity in terms of whether the list itself should remain
closed, why must the archives also remain closed?

(1) If we decided to make the archives publicly-available, we could do so
with an *explanation* that the list posts represent Internet exchanges and
are, therefore, different from the publication of scholarly materials. We
could, for instance, include something like the following which appears at
the close of all FEMECON digests:

>NOTICE FOR JOURNALISTS AND RESEARCHERS: Please ask for written permission
>from all direct participants before quoting any material posted on FEMECON-L.

(2) Granted: we have all written posts that we would like to have taken
back for one reason or another. Yet, if we were to release the archives
with an explanation as above, what would be the message that we would be
sending others? Wouldn't it simply be that we -- like everyone else -- are
*human* and, thereby, capable of mistakes in formulation and/or judgment?
What this be such a terrible message for Marxists to send to others in the
late-XXth Century? I don't think so.

Since Duncan, John and others have expressed opposition to making the
archives publicly-available, I think we would have to have *consensus*
before changing policy (this is particularly the case since listmembers
wrote posts with the understanding that the archives are and would remain
closed). However, I ask that all give very serious consideration to (a)
the above arguments; and (b) the tremendous wealth of materials that are
available in the archives. Wouldn't it be a good idea for us to share the

In solidarity,