Subscribers to the top-secret Internet Society of NZ members’ mailing list seem to be having trouble extracting themselves from an obsession with their own acceptable use policy (AUP) and getting back to discussion of substantive issues.
The AUP dictates the sort of thing users are allowed to say on the list, and how information gained from the list should be used. Computerworld reporter Paul Brislen sparked a recent round of AUP debate by allegedly violating the latter conditions, a discussion from which he extracted himself by resigning his membership of the society.
Then came a - humorous, one hopes - posting to the list, saying “I apologise for the alleged misrepresenting comment I made in my post on December 3rd, 2000 on this list.” Another member replied: “You will be receiving, in due course, a bus ticket in the mail. Please dampen it, and slap yourself on the wrist. Now that more of this trivial bullshit is dealt with, is there any actual business that anyone cares about, or are we going to continue this minimalist internal flagellation?"
Then came the posting: “I would like to immediately lay a complaint against myself about my previous comment. I feel it was completely out of line, and probably a breach of the sainted AUP. I call for my immediate apology. I refuse to apologise.”
This was followed by an attempt to return to discussion of the society’s submission on the Crimes Amendment Bill No 6. But the thread was still interspersed with jokey comments on grammar and logic regarding the AUP postings and an anguished comment "for heaven's sake can we let this drop!".
We hope it dies out soon, ISOCNZ. Meanwhile, we’re still watching the list. And we will ask authorised persons for comment before publishing on matters of a serious nature.