Here's a coda to the Yahoogroups CobaltPoets situation:
I recently accessed the at-that-time-open archives for the purpose of seeing whether a poet who hosts one week of the Rapp Saloon's reading series (I host the second week) had posted an announcement there.
Only then did I notice the discussion about the Monsanto protests.
To restate my earlier opinion in a more temperate way--I do understand the list proprietor's feelings that it's his domain to regulate as he pleases. But once the not-a-poetry-announcement subject of Monsanto appeared (and was allowed to stay), then it should have continued, so long as the participants didn't try to strangle each other rhetorically.
Of course, it doesn't help that the list proprietor and I have had a history of disagreeing with each other--though I have, on occasion, acknowledged his talent and value (the latter in terms of his long-running reading series and pioneering poetry website).
I'm not comfortable with keeping things secret (whether they're poetry announcements or discussions/arguments within the "poetry community").
But other people are.
So now you have a poetry listserve mainly consisting of poetry announcements (which, ideally, should be available to the entire public) kept under lock and key. And you have to be approved by the proprietor before being allowed to join.
And it's all my fault.
Or is it?
UPDATE: Rick Lupert, CobaltPoets proprietor, replies to the above. Here's his complete answer.
"oh, dear...no...I've received a couple of request from people (one recently and one not so recently) to delete past messages that had content they had written that they were concerned would come up as potential employees researched them on the web that they thought might not shed the best light on them. It was suggested to me that making the archives available only to members would make those posts not accessible by google searches etc while still allowing anyone who was part of the group (which is open to anyone to join) could still have access. So, yes there is an extra step for the public to get to the archived material, but it's still available and you, So you've ruined nothing and, Terry, you are more than welcome to rejoin the list if you'd like access to it. Re the Monsanto piece, I also received NUMEROUS requests to nip the conversation in the bud and a handful of "Thank Yous" after it was done...people tend to be pretty finicky about the amount of email they receive and when so much, to them, irrelevant material is posted to a list they're really just looking for poetry information on, it leads to people unsubscribing in flocks...many folks would just unsubscribe without bothering to send an email requesting the list remain focused on poetry...the main point being that the Cobalt list's primary purpose is to support the Cobalt reading...although it's very liberal on allowing other people to post news and information and marginally liberal on allowing occasional commentary and conversation on things involving poetry, when items like the Monsanto conversation come up directly cause people to want to leave the list, it becomes clear that the main purpose of the list begins to take a back seat which does not serve well the reading series or anyone interested in that primary purpose, which is most people on the list. Thanks, by the way, for the kind words you wrote about my website and me. I enjoyed your occasional picture from Italy and hope you and Valerie had an extraordinary experience there."