At 07:46 AM 9/7/01 -0500, Ted Tontis wrote:
>         Besides me does anyone else think that it is strange that the forum
>administrator is cracking down on what he/she believes to be off topic? This
>was never an issue before, so why now?

The Forum Administrator has periodically posted notices to this list about 
off-topic posts and has periodically warned individual writers. I've 
received such warnings more than once. So this is not new.

>  Who is the forum admin? is it
>Protel/Altium? or is it some other EDA co.

No, it is not Protel. Yes, it is an "EDA co," if Techserv fits in that 
category. Techserv is a long-time Protel service bureau; Mark Koitmaa of 
Techserv started this Forum and owns it. He has appointed one of his 
employees (presumably) as Administrator, but ultimately Mark makes the 
rules. For better or for worse, he does not consult the association or this 

>  The message sent buy Mr. Potapoff
>was an on topic post, Is tech serv going to be the new world order censoring
>everything we say and deciding weather something can be posted or not?

It takes time, i.e., money, to control everything. I'm sure that much of 
our discussion does not meet Mark's standards, but warnings are only 
occasional, and, to my knowledge, no one has ever been expelled from the 
list for posting off-topic messages.

Some time back, aware that there were topics of general interest to Protel 
users but which did not meet Mark's standards, I started a series of 
parallel lists on behalf of the association. I periodically announce them 
here. If it were my call, I would subscribe everyone to all general lists 
automatically and then let the subscribers opt-out of each list. Even 
though there are discussions or potential discussions on the other lists, 
relatively few have subscribed to them (except for protel-users and 

There are other associations which use other techniques for accomplishing 
pretty much the same end, that is, beginners go on all or most lists and 
then, when they subscribe or later, filer out the lists that they do not 
want to receive. Some of us get a *lot* of mail and simply do not want to 
deal with more, even if, under other conditions, we might like to see it or 
at least have the opportunity to scan the subject lines.

Last time Techserv made a fuss about off-topic discussions, they started 
another list, the Open Topic Forum. This, by the way, was a direct 
duplication of an already-existing list, protel-users-misc, something the 
association has attempted to avoid (with the exception, now, of 
protel-users itself -- all these lists are, which is a 
backup list).

Splitting the lists in this way (if duplication is avoided) does not 
increase traffic; rather it allows users to choose what they want to 
receive. Duplicate lists can increase traffic but only rarely, as a new 
subscriber, thinking he'll get a faster answer, posts to more than one 
list. (That won't work: we all receive the Forum and most regular writers 
are also subscribed to protel-users.)

I'm the owner of record of all the protel-users lists on yahoogroups, but I 
am bound by agreement to change ownership under the direction of the 
association, should it choose to make such a change. I make default policy 
for those lists but the association is quite capable of overruling me (and 
has done so in one case).

>  This
>also brings up the recent problems from yesterday, The errors everyone was
>receiving where stating that we where the problem, when in fact it was a
>router error. I find it interesting that the admin never sent a message that
>there was a problem and they where working on it, that would have been off
>topic and not posted on the forum.

Techserv simply cannot afford to spend much time managing this list, but 
has been unwilling to turn it over to the users. The association has never 
formally asked for such, but a committee of major writers did request it. 
Techserv's response was to rush through an upgrade of the listserver and 
appoint a new administrator, presumably from among Mark's employees, and 
who, presumably, would have more time. Techserv is very busy; I have 
received quite a number of RFQ's from potential clients who could not get a 
time commitment from Techserv that met their needs.

>Thank you for letting me vent,

I don't have a problem with it, obviously. With the system I envision, I'd 
want to see posts like this elsewhere than on the main support list, but it 
is not as I envision. I thought I should make more of the situation public, 
hence this response, for which I am personally responsible, not ex officio 
as elected chair of the Association.

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
PCB design, consulting, and training
Protel EDA license resales
Easthampton, Massachusetts, USA
(413) 282-0013, efax (419) 730-4777

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