A Professionally Oriented Audio Discussion Group
In The Spirit of Plato's "Republic"
Q: What is PRO-AUDIO?
A: PRO-AUDIO is a professional discussion group dedicated to the
discussion of issues endemic to the world of audio engineering.
It is meant to provide an alternative to rec.audio.pro for those
who seek a more intellectual, engineering-oriented list for the
discussion of technical issues, audio philosophy, and other
Q: Why is PRO-AUDIO a mailing list and not a USENET newsgroup?
A: USENET is, frankly, too noisy. The spirit of PRO-AUDIO used to
be embodied on the newsgroup rec.audio.pro when it was created
several years ago. Back then it was a group for professionals,
Q: Who is welcome on PRO-AUDIO?
A: Anyone is welcome to read PRO-AUDIO, but posting on the mailing list is
restricted to audio professionals, students, and conscientious
non-professionals. Recognized audio professionals will be placed on a
special list that will permit them to post freely on PRO-AUDIO. Those not
on this invited list are welcome to submit postings to PRO-AUDIO which may
be posted at the list moderators’ discretion.
The operators of PRO-AUDIO (a committee chosen by the staff of PGM,
the late Gabe Wiener's company) reserve the right to decide, in
their sole judgment, who gets to post and who doesn't. PRO-AUDIO
is not a democracy.
Q: What's all this about Plato's Republic?
A: Plato asserted in his monumental work "Republic" that democracy
was the worst possible form of government, because the populace
did not have enough specialized knowledge to make judgments.
The best governance, according to Plato, comes from those who
have specific knowledge of the field of governing. An analog of
this is why we go to doctors. When one is ill, one does not
take an opinion poll on what the best treatment should be.
One instead goes to someone with specialized knowledge...a
doctor. When one is lost at sea, a vote among the sailors
as to which direction to go is hardly the most appealing
option. Far wiser is to ask someone trained in the art of
direction-finding....that is, a navigator.
In the case of governance, the person skilled in the art of
running a state was called a Philosopher-King...that is,
someone who was vested with absolute power, but someone who
also knew to use it wisely....to do what is _right_.
[I recommend the Allan Bloom translation of "Republic" for
those who want fuller details on this paradigm, known as
"The Ship of State." - Gabe]
PRO-AUDIO operates on the same principle. Plato predicted
that democratic governments eventually descend into chaos. The
newsgroups of USENET have succumbed to this phenomenon. Once
an idyllic intellectual forum governed by courtesy and
thoughtfulness, today's USENET is nothing if not chaotic.
While PRO-AUDIO is open to anyone who behaves themselves,
it is certainly not a democracy. Anyone who behaves in an
obnoxious, rude, or inappropriate manner (as determined solely
by the list's operators) will be extirpated.
Q: But isn't that censorship?
A: Yes. But this is my private machine and I can do whatever I
want on it. A magazine can refuse to print your article. A
bookstore can refuse to sell your book. Those who don't like
my policy of moderation can feel free to post to the newsgroups
and be assured that they (and everybody else and his brother)
will have all the free speech they care for.
As A.J. Liebling once wrote, "Freedom of the press is largely
reserved for those who own one." This is my press, and I
decide who gets to use it.
The reputation of the operators of PRO-AUDIO is well established
in the professional audio community, and these guidelines are here
to keep PRO-AUDIO a pleasant place for professionals to discuss
audio. We have no desire to have our mailing list flooded with
for-sale messages or with outlandish and patently absurd techno-babble
spewed by people who couldn't engineer their way out of a paper bag.
Behavior on PRO-AUDIO is nothing but common sense.
Q: What kind of postings are prohibited?
A: The following are examples of inappropriate messages.
- For Sale and Wanted-To-Buy messages, EXCEPT when the item being
bought or sold is of particular significant interest to audio
professionals. In other words, if you're selling your old
U-87 or a used DA-88, forget it.
- Argumentative and nonconstructive discussions that attempt for
instance to assert that analog or digital audio is "better"
than the other, or that simply agree with a previous post
without adding significantly to the discussion.
- Articles of the "What's the best microphone for under $100?"
variety. Most of us don't know about mics in that price range.
Q: How do I subscribe to PRO-AUDIO?
A: List subscriptions are handled through a web interface at
Enter your email address, choose a password and select whether you want
to read individual list posts or the digest (a daily collection, or
whenever the postings reach about 40 kbytes). You’ll be e-mailed a
confirmation code, respond to that and you will be subscribed.
Once you’re subscribed, you can log in to the web interface with your
email address and password (if you forget the password you can enter just
the email address and the password will be sent there) and change
addresses, put the subscription on hold, change to digest mode and so on.
Q: How do I post to PRO-AUDIO?
A: Send mail to email@example.com and the system will instantly recognize
you and pass your message to the list moderators about as fast as you can
send it. Readers whose contributions to the list are of consistently high
quality will be added to the invited posters list and will be permitted to
pass their messages through to the list without the need for moderation.
If you have administrative requests, send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What if I don’t want to use the web interface?
A: All of the subscription functions may be handled by e-mail as in
past versions of the ProAudio list software. Send a one-word e-mail
“help” (without the quotes) to email@example.com
and a list of instructions will be returned to you.
Q: How do I retrieve copies of posts that have appeared on PRO-AUDIO?
A: All PRO-AUDIO posts are archived and will be sent to you by e-mail
upon request to the list server. Posts from the beginning in 1995
are still stored on the Majordomo server. If you send an e-mail
message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the lines
you'll get a complete list of the archive files available for
download (index pro-audio sends a list of the monthly archives,
index pro-audio-digest sends a list of the digests). Then, send
another message to email@example.com with the line
get [listname] [filename]
where [listname] is either pro-audio or pro-audio-digest, and
[filename] is the complete file name as shown in the list you
received. You can combine as many get commands as you like in
one mail message; the files will be e-mailed to you.
Posts from December 15, 2004 to the present are archived on the
Mailman server and can be reached via the web and e-mail interfaces
Q: What may I do and not do with the postings and archives of
A: The entire contents of Pro-Audio are copyright by the estate
of Gabe Wiener and by the original individual posters, and may
not be copied, sold or used in any commercial or restricted
manner. Individual subscribers are granted a nonexclusive,
nonassignable right to copy the contents for their own use but
such use may not include providing the contents to any other
party. Interested parties are invited to refer to the subscription
and archive features of Pro-Audio where all content posted since
1995 is available, but such linking may not include the
production of compilations, archives, indexes or similar works.