How the Lasqeti email list came about

Recently I wrote to a poster to the email list about how it began and grew, because it seemed that they seemed to misunderstand.  Here's what I wrote:

You seem to not know much about the Lasqueti email list and how it began. I'm writing this to you so you can know at least my version of the story, and so you will be able to see how it has evolved over the years.  

Many years ago Arne put together a list of about 20 email addresses for people living on Lasqueti and sent it to all of the people on the list.  Some time later I used his  list of email addresses to send some piece of news - I don't remember what it was - to that list of people.  I sent the emails using BCC for the recipients, so the names and addresses were not publicly known or available. This happened a few times, and people asked me to send information to the list, which I did. People asked me to put them on the recipient list, and it gradually grew.  At that time Craig's list was new and popular, and some people called the Lasqueti emal "Peter's list". I've never called it that. I've used "Lasqueti email list".

For years I did it this way on my own, usually copying texts sent to me by email into the list email, and sending it out every two or three days or so, when it had several to five or so messages, or when something important and time-sensitive seemed to make it time to send it out. I typed in text that I received by ordinary mail from people, and also short messages I received by telephone. It was a community service, and it was and is a good way to communicate.

I did this for years. Very occasionally, I told someone that I would not send out their message, if I thought it was rude or inconsiderate or bullying or something like that.  It didn't happen very often, and usually the person would re-write it and change the tone, but keep the message they wanted sent out.

Just over 10 years ago I was going away for a while and asked Joseph if he would "run" the list when I was gone. He was shocked at how primitive my system was, and how much time it took. He then instituted the automated system we use now, including a small group of moderators instead of just one person running the show on his own. Mostly the moderators work independently. Occasionally we exchange emails when we feel the need. It takes only one moderator to accept or reject a post.

It's not a perfect system, but it does work quite well. 


joseph's picture

Thank you Peter

I fondly remember the way those emails used to come, all jumbled together in different fonts and styles. I occasionally regret building out the automated system we use now. It is more efficient and consistent, and allows a group of people to share the moderation burden, which are all good things.

But back in those days people really understood what a public service you were providing.
They treated each post to the list for what it is - a privilege.
And they were grateful for the volunteer work you did keeping our community informed and allowing us to share information.

It seems there is now some small segment of islanders who view it as their right to send whatever they want to the list's now 600+ recipients. Without regard for their preferences or their right to choose what they receive. And without any apparent understanding or respect for the tireless efforts of the volunteers who've run the list behind the scenes and have maintained the good will of those 600 subscribers for over a decade now through many challenging times.

The list is not facebook or twitter. We don't collect personal data, we don't serve ads, and we don't "monetize" the content. We don't have a team of paid engineers or moderators. We are just a group of locals with a shared understanding of the vital role played by a free, accessible, non-corporate, non-government run communications channel.

Personally, I am undeterred by little uproars like the one occurring now. The list is just too important to allow any "special interest" group to degrade the good will of its subscribers. It certainly make life more stressful and busy for the list volunteers, but I am confident the list will continue to be a fair, open, and egalitarian marketplace for local ideas of all sorts.

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