Most of the other lists I'm on are narrowly focused, and though I get some
impression of the sort of person each poster might be, I don't feel as
though I KNOW any of them, unless I strike up an acquaintance off-list.
There is, however, one other list I'm on that's as wide ranging as the
Extropians. It's a list for people (mostly ex-urbanites) who are living in
rural areas (or who aren't yet but wannabe) and are building their own
houses, growing food, and so forth. A fairly large number of them make a
living programming or designing computer software. It's interesting to note
that often when heated debates about politics are going on among the
Extropians, the Homesteaders are debating the same topics at the same time.
It's a bit uncanny (I can only suppose that certain news items trigger the
debates on both lists). I haven't been posting to the Homesteader's list
lately, so there's no way I could have carried the topics there from the
Extropian's list. The Homesteaders have just now ranged through Libertarian
versus socialist, whether welfare payments actually help people, etc. etc.
They haven't done race (yet) but they've tackled sexism. They're presently
talking about the spike and the loss of jobs that'll occur due to major
changes in technology. They take a different approach from the Extropians'
with all these topics (especially the spike), which makes it especially
interesting to flip from one list to the other.
With both the Extropians and the Homestead lists, I see the regular posters
as real people, whom I feel as though I know. On both lists, when a regular
poster doesn't show up for a while, people notice and make an effort to find
out what's happened to the missing member. Although the Homestead list has
no organized events such as the EXTRO conventions, the members often have
informal regional gatherings at one of the members' farms. Most of the list
members are in the US, but there are regular posters from England, Ireland,
Australia, and Macedonia.
Both the Homestead list and the Extropians list have existed since the early
days of the Internet, and on both there is a small group of original members
who are still around. Both have a core of long-term members who've been
around for a year or more and who seem to like each other enough to remain
on friendly terms even after heated debates. The Homestead list has more
women than does the Extropians, but this doesn't seem to make much
difference with respect to the frequency, anger-level, and duration of
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