Long time List Admin Weighing In On Debates

Nimer Jaber

Hello everyone,

First, for those who may not know, I have been a long-time list owner and admin. I have owned or co-owned the Blind Access Help list for years, I am the owner of the NVDA list, and over the years, I have been honored to lead a few other lists as well. I am on many lists, and contribute from time to time, as i am able, to helping users and trying to share knowledge to everyone.

I want to take a minute to write to you all today about the mess that has been spiking traffic on this list. I know that you have many things to do today, and I appreciate you taking the time to read my message.

As a list owner, I have adopted my own style. My style is not the right style for every list, and the role I place myself means that I must be responsive to the demands of the list that I direct. For example, while some lists lend themselves better to being ran close to a democracy, others lend themselves better to a hands-off approach most of the time, as they can run themselves without my direction. Sometimes, as a list owner, I face the challenge of knowing when or how to put the brakes on a thread, and it is really important that I try, with care and intention, to make the right decision. Not doing so could spark anger from list members, ruined reputations, a billion messages on the list about how terrible the admin is, a few messages about how a new list should be created, some people leaving to join the other list, others leaving to escape the increase in traffic, and in the meantime, users with questions who don't care about the running of the list are being drowned out, or are too timid to ask questions because of the morale of the list.

I will not make a judgement about what Joseph did and said was right or wrong. Joseph, like me, has adopted his own methods of list leadership, and I am sure that he does not get up each day saying to himself "Oh, let me knock down the reputation of the Win10 list today". Instead, he volunteers his time and energy, without compensation, often without appreciation of all he does, in order to try to make sure that this and other f forums are welcoming, safe, and open for all kinds of individuals to ask questions, and learn from one another. As this forum decides the fate of Joseph, please remember that words matter, what you say matters, and Joseph is a real live human being behind a keyboard, as are each and every one of you. Please remember that there is no training for being a list owner. There is a right and wrong way to lead people, but there are many ways of doing it right, and many styles that work for many people. Being a list owner is not necessarily easy, and at times, it isn't fun. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone has thoughts about how a list should be run, whether they are vocal about those views or not. And, often times, list members bring those views to us expecting, sometimes demanding, that we act, and that we do what they ask us to, even though that may not be in the interest of the forum.

It is okay to ask for a leader to step down. It is okay to be frustrated at the actions of a leader. A responsive leader will listen to those whom they serve. I just hope that, in the process of making a judgement about whether Joseph's actions were right or wrong, we take a second to breathe, remember that he is a human with feelings, and think about what may have gone on in his head as he responded in the way he did. Ask yourself what a better leader would do, ask yourself if Joseph intended to cause harm to the list, and ask yourself why exactly you cannot put your trust in his leadership anymore3. Take a second or two to think about why you are opening up a new list, why you are angry and upset, and how to constructively phrase what you will say in a way that gets at your frustration without causing more harm to the reputation of this list, and without throwing Joseph under the bus.

Finally, please remember that every message sent on the internet is one we can never take back.

There, I know that was lengthy. Thank you for sticking with me, and if you have more questions, please reach out to me.

Nimer Jaber

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