June 16, 2000
Dear Jordan -
This is a public list, which means that anyone can join. I have asked you to stop using this list as a platform for your personal crusade. While many people on the -------- list agree with the goal of eliminating child abuse, you appear, like many moral zealots not to realize that your approach is itself abusive. I have taken the very unusual step of removing you from the list because you seem so unwilling to respect the requests made by others that you not use this list as simply a means to promote your own organization. You have caused more than 20 people to drop from the list over the past year. I request that you not send any other messages to the list or to me in the future.
If you do not respect this request, I will employ my influence with undergraduate and graduate students to spam your email indefinitely.
Professor of Education and Psychology
College of --------
June 16, 2000
Dear H-------- and others who have written to me about Jordan Riak over the past three years -
I deeply appreciate your support. We have all patiently dealt with his abuse of this list for almost three years now. I will be posting an article on the WEB that . . . discusses the ways in which moral identity can lead to moral zealotry.
In addition to removing Jordan from the list, I have asked him to stop sending messages to the this list using the general list address. If he does not respect this, I will deal with him. In the meantime, I thank you again for your support. We have all gained too much by being able to communicate with one another in this way to let someone ruin things for everyone else.
At 11:30 AM 6/16/00 -0600, you wrote:
There seems to be some confusion about the list-serve. It appears that some people are removing themselves from the -------- in response to the messages from Project No-Spank. Unfortunately, Project No-Spanks messages are often inflammatory and outside the parameters of academic discussion. Maybe we need to make the difference clear so that people do not remove themselves from your list?
-------- -------, Ph.D.
Senior Human Development Specialist
June 17, 2000
Dear Jordan -
I have asked you to refrain from posting messages on the -------- list. Your approach to use of the list has caused me to lose members each year in a way that I cannot afford. I don't mind losing people who are closed minded about issues, but several of the people we have lost are in fact sympathetic to your position, but unable to put up with your sole use of the list as a way to promote your cause and your site.
However, I am also very sympathetic to your issue and support your general goals. In this spirit I offer the following compromise: you refrain from posting messages on the list and I will add a link to your site on our WEB site. The WEB site receives about 500,000 hits per year which is not earth shattering, but is more than the 200 people on the list.
I look forward to your response.
Professor of Education and Psychology
College of --------
June 19, 2000Letter from list member, Dr. L--- to list manager, Dr. S----- and members. (Copy forwarded to Riak by a recipient.)
Dear Professor S--------:
I am in receipt of your emailed letter of 6/17 in which you suggest a "compromise" whereby you will promote my Web site if I desist writing to your listserv. Before I respond to that, let me clarify a few points.
Project NoSpank's mailing list consists almost entirely of people who have requested to be included on it and/or who have ordered printed materials from us. Occasionally we will add a name that comes recommended by a third party or when we learn of someone whose activities suggest that they would welcome our correspondence. When someone requests to be removed from our list, we do it immediately.
Your email address and that of your organization have been on our list for several years now. If I remember correctly, our initial contact involved your approaching us, not the other way around. I could be wrong about that. Most of our email archive of that period has been lost, so I can't corroborate my recollections from data. Nevertheless, since that time, you and your organization have been receiving our mailings. For the most part, those messages are brief announcements like the one of a few days ago which reads as follows:
"Please see VILIFYING THE SCAPEGOAT, THEN AND NOW at wsj.htm. In order to protect privacy, the list of recipients of this message is undisclosed. If you have received this message by mistake, please let us know. Your name will be removed from our list."
My records show five relatively longer postings to your list during this year, four of them clustered in the past few weeks. The first of those four was in response to a letter from another list member on the subject of corporal punishment of children. Those that followed were my contribution to the ensuing debate. It is an issue in which I have been involved since 1975 and about which I have strong opinions. Obviously not everyone agrees with my opinions, but that's the purpose of honest debate--to test opposing viewpoints and hopefully to separate fact from falsehood.
On June 16 you requested that I remove you and your organization from the Project NoSpank mailing list. I did exactly that, just as I would for anyone making that request. The email addresses I removed are --------, -------- and ---------. Please let me know if there are others that I missed.
As for your offer to place a link to our site from yours if we cease writing to your group, that option is moot for reasons just explained. In any event, we would have declined such an offer. We are pleased and flattered when others link to Project NoSpank. Many do. But they do so purely because they value the resource, not because they are exchanging favors with us. We do not owe you or your organization, or any organization, any favors, and we do not expect any favors. As a matter of principle, we would never enter into such an arrangement with anybody. You are free to link to Project NoSpank exactly as anyone else is free to link to Project NoSpank.
As for those members of your group who prefer not to hear our views regarding this most important of issues (on the pretext that our style is over-zealous, abusive, inflammatory, etc.), it's a pity they aren't satisfied with using their computer's delete button, and that they don't trust their adult colleagues' ability to filter information for themselves. I am disappointed that you apparently succumbed to pressure from that faction. However, I am confident that anyone in your group who wants to find Project NoSpank and be included in its mailings already knows how to do that. Everybody is welcome. Supporters, skeptics and critics alike can freely come or go by the same door.
You may share this letter with anyone.
Jordan Riak, Exec. Dir.
Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE)
P.O. Box 1033, Alamo, CA 94507-7033
Tel: (925) 831-1661; Fax: (925) 838-8914
Web site: "Project NoSpank" at http://www.nospank.net
June 30, 2000
you have asked us to stop the discussion on Jordan Riak's dismissal from this list. Before I silence myself, let me give this whole discussion some afterthoughts.
Isn't it disturbing to note that in the two cases in which you ask the list members to stop a discussion violence was at stake, not violence by youth and criminals (we cannot hear enough about how wrong this is and how much we should do to fight it), but violence by teachers and other educators against youth.
In these two cases, some members of this list (mostly moral educators, I suppose!) became literally speechless or even violent: they trashed all notes without reading them, they unsubscribed this list, and they urged you, the list manager, to silence those who raise this topic -- but they hardly ever spoke up and made an argument themselves, at least not in public (if such arguments were made behind the scenes there are of no relevance for my point).
If they made any arguments, they blew them up with allegations and allusions which completely distorted what really had happened. When rereading these arguments, one gets the impression that Jordan Riak had sent out 200 mails every day to the list members containing porno-sites and lies about child abuse and never ever would let the other side speak to him.
In contrast to this image, which some members of this list have adopted about Jordan Riak's no-spank web-site and his notes, reading his notes and his web-pages reveals that he deeply cares about the physical, social and moral development of our children, that he is very much concerned about the level of violence and abuse of children by some teachers and educators, and that he pursues his case with enthusiasm and engagement but that he also gives the "other side" a fair deal of space and voice in his internet publications.
Me and obviously many others on this list, do not feel a bit abused or annoyed by his contributions to this list, but welcome them as a necessary component of a discussion list which would become rather academic and irrelevant without such contributions. Anyone, who really is interested in a fair judgment may look at his web-site: www.nospank.net.