That seems to be a real denial of service to us all.
There's a very short list of chronic misbehavers who waste a grossly
disproportionate amount of our time. We all know who they are, and
even if you throw in a few sock puppets, you can count them on your
fingers and have plenty of fingers left over. Every month or so one
or the other of them does yet another asinine thing and we waste days
arguing about what sanctions their latest offense merits, because they
delight in attracting attention to themselves by skating along the
edge of what's just barely tolerable.
The IETF really is one of the most open organizations on the planet.
I'm on a lot of mailing lists, and the IETF's are notable for the
broad participation and the toleration of rather brusque literary
styles. It is not difficult to participate successfully, and to fall
afoul of these norms you have to be a truly major jerk. I've also
been watching the usual suspects here and elsewhere (several also
infest ICANN lists, for example) and I cannot ever remember one of
them making a technical contribution whose merit even began to
approach the cost of dealing with their noise.
We do ourselves no favors by letting ourselves be distracted by people
who have proven to have a negative S/N ratio. Indeed, I see some
evidence that the noise drives away people whose time is not
unlimited. I'm certainly not proposing that we ban people who are
merely sometimes irritating*, but when specific people have a long
history of sending mail whose value has proven to be comparable to
mail from, say, Maryam Abacha, we would do ourselves a favor by
treating it the same way.
* - me, for example
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