The scandal of private listservs

Glenn Reynolds declares that a private listserv run by Ezra Klein is a “scandal”. Which is interesting, because I first ran into Glenn Reynolds on a private listserv run by Eugene Volokh. The members included pro-gun law professors like Reynolds, an NRA staffer and at least one journalist. I do not consider Volokh’s listserv to be a scandal.

Volokh converted it to a public listserv in 2003 and traffic dropped significantly after that, though that might be a coincidence.


  1. #1 stewart
    March 22, 2009

    Let’s see. I’m on 4 private listservs that I can think of right off the top of my head, plus a few discussion groups that go through email, plus… Good Gods! – I’m a conspirator, and all this time, I thought I was simply engaged in best practice and sharing information with trusted collaborators/fellow professionals/those with shared interests.
    It’s a stick for fools to beat themselves with.

  2. #2 stewart
    March 22, 2009

    Oops – sorry, forgot sailing. Make that 6 private listservs. I’m sure others can top that. I’m assuming listservs that are available through employment/professional memberships count, right? They are private, not public, after all. Let’s demonstrate how ridiculous these faux-complaints are.

    Oops – 7. I forgot an academic one.

    I propose a scale for conspiracy, based on number of private listservs you belong to.
    0 Innocent bystander
    1-3 Unwitting pawn of the dark forces
    4-7 Minion of the _______ Conspiracy
    7-10 Mid-level overlord
    11+ Master Conspirator – we bow before you. (or retired hobbyist)

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