I just received the following mail:

At 02:53 PM 3/23/01 -0800, Forum Administrator wrote:
>Earlier today you posted an off topic message to the EDA forum. These types
>of discussions should be posted to the Open Topic Forum.
>
>Thank You for Your Cooperation,
>
>Forum Administrator
>Association of Protel EDA Users
>[EMAIL PROTECTED]
>http://www.techservinc.com/protelusers

This was less than helpful. I posted a fair number of messages to the forum 
before I received this. Though I have a suspicion, I don't know which 
message is being protested; of course, I could find out by writing to the 
Forum Administrator, which would be the normal way to deal with this 
problem. I presume he would tell me.

But I'm using the occasion to bring up some issues which I would think 
would be of interest to list members. And posting this to the Open Topic 
forum would be totally and completely useless and a waste of time.

(1) There was already another miscellaneous discussion list, 
[EMAIL PROTECTED] As it has demonstrated, there has been 
very little interest in having another list for miscellaneous discussions. 
There would be more if all users were *automatically* subscribed to the 
miscellaneous list, and could unsubscribe. In other words, opt-out rather 
than opt-in.

But I joined this list to be able to communicate with Protel users on a 
wide range of issues. And only a narrow definition of on-topic would lead, 
I think, to the conclusion that what I wrote earlier was off-topic. What I 
wrote was directly related to Protel software or user relationships with 
Protel. Which brings me to the second point.

(2) Frequently unincorporated association mailing lists are entrusted to an 
individual who technically owns the list, but who runs it in accord with 
the consensus of the users. Sometimes this consensus is formally expressed, 
through voting, but more often it is informal. However, for me and for many 
other Protel users, this list is mission-critical. It's not a hobby. And I 
would not want to entrust such a critical tool to a single individual who 
has a clear conflict of interest. Because others may have similar concerns 
about *me*, I have promised to completely turn over the yahoogroups lists 
to the association as soon as it is capable of receiving them.

(3) Techserv has a vested interest in maintaining control over this list, 
and in running it in such a way as to discourage an actual user 
association. That interest is great enough that he is willing to spend 
quite a bit of money and other resources to keep the status quo. A group of 
users recently asked him to cooperate with moving the list to yahoogroups. 
I had advised this group of users to make such a move formally, through 
[EMAIL PROTECTED], where it could be discussed 
openly and decisions made by a democratic process open to all Protel users 
who wished to participate. However, my advice was not acce;ted, probably 
because the marjoity hoped that Mark (Koitmaa, the effective owner of 
Techserv) would be cooperative without a confrontation. Mark's response was 
to ignore the letter until he had time to improve the server at substantial 
expense, a move which answers only a few of the user's concerns. And we 
should remember that a high-performance mailing list through yahoogroups is 
either free (with advertising) or about $5 per month without advertising, 
and a number of users have offered to pay that fee, myself among them.

(4) So why does Mark want to maintain control? Though I'm not a mindreader, 
it's fairly obvious. The status quo essentially advertises his service 
bureau with every post on the list, further, the large majority of new 
subscribers pass through his web site. The list rules prevent other service 
bureaus from advertising on the list, though we can sneak in something in 
the signature. I'm not suggesting that we change the rules, but only that 
the status quo gives Techserv a major advantage.

(5) I'm not planning to further discuss this issue on this list. Rather, I 
was nominated to be the association chair, and I intend to, from now on, 
function in that capacity pending a formal election, which I intend to 
arrange with deliberate speed. While this would not technically prevent me 
from participating in debate, it is meet for a chairperson to avoid the 
appearance of partiality and to abstain from partisan positions. Frankly, 
I'd rather *not* be the chair, but I will so function until I am replaced.

(6) In spite of what is said on the Techserv web site, there *is* a real 
association with real people, and its active members include most of the 
major writers on this list, as shown by the membership of 
[EMAIL PROTECTED] As far as I am concerned, that list 
has the authority to decide where the list is hosted, list rules, and a 
host of other issues. All licensed protel users are welcome to participate. 
To join the association, send a piece of mail to:

[EMAIL PROTECTED]

and confirm the response you will get from the yahoogroups server. If 
anyone has difficulty with this, please contact me and I can directly enter 
your subscription.

That list currently has advertising, but I am going to pay yahoogroups to 
remove the advertising, as a donation to the association. You may set your 
account on yahoogroups, if you get one, to keep advertising to text-only.


[EMAIL PROTECTED]
Abdulrahman Lomax
P.O. Box 690
El Verano, CA 95433

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