Some of you know about my ongoing debate with dkg about documentation and public lists. Or publicly archived lists. We go round in circles about whether all lists should be publicly archived by default. In free software communities, public list archives are an important source of information, context and technical support. In political organizing communities, lists can be much more complex, places where people are exploring political and theoretical ideas that they might be embarrassed by later.
If I say something foolish and naive on a technology support list, and then years later a colleague finds it, people will understand. They'll believe that I get it now, that my grasp on Apache configuration syntax has grown. If I say something foolish and naive on a political list, though, that can haunt me for years. Even if it doesn't hurt me in some objectively measurable way, it can sting. Even if you aren't worried about embarrassing yourself one day, it is a little creepy to realize that anyone with a web browser can assemble a short history of my life and career by following posts I've made to various mailing lists over the years. I don't like it.
On top of that, I firmly believe that a bit of privacy facilitates frank and honest conversations. We can learn together as friends if we aren't broadcasting our every exchange. I'm certainly more comfortable working that way. I treat my posts to large lists very differently than I treat small ones and on the whole I am much, much less likely to weigh in on a conversation that is widely archived because I feel more pressure to fine tune my thoughts and carefully edit my phrasing. I like to look good. I know not everyone does, or maybe I know that not everyone judges "looking good" on the same terms, but I take pride in my prose.
So we go back and forth, dkg and I.
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