Re: META: traffic-limited list idea

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Sun, 13 Apr 1997 15:31:11 -0700 (PDT)

> Lee Daniel Crocker:
> >The fact that reader attention is valuable and posting is free leads
> >to an obovious tragedy of the commons that the proposal helps solve.
> It may be obvious to you, but it is not obvious to me. Many of us on
> the Internet subscribe to ten or more lists and have learned to
> manage the postings quite effectively with our email software. I
> don't believe in restricting bandwidth to any participant in any
> manner, because there is plenty of room for everyone and we all
> possess filters and delete keys. I can zap fifteen posts or more at
> one keystroke if I want to, I don't grudge the ten seconds that takes
> to anyone.

I subscribe to 30, and get about 2MB of mail a day. I've learned
to use my software, and to judge in a second or two whether a post
might be worth reading. But I still value my time, and I believe
that a two-tiered system like that I have proposed, with an open
list and a self-limited paid list, would increase my ability to
find interesting things, because I would be less inclined to skip
postings on the paid list. If I knew somebody thought it was
important enough to pay for, I'd be inclined to spend more than
a second or two to find out why, whereas on an open list I have
less patience for anything I don't see an immediate benefit to.

I am glad you are generous with your time, and will give anyone
those ten seconds of attention. But /my/ time is not yours to
spend, and it is clear to me from talking with others that they
value their time as well, and want to make it more productive.

You seem to be under the impression that bandwidth-limiting by
self-restraint is a kind of control. Nonsense. The proposal I
have made is entirely voluntary and unmoderated. It is a way
for list participants to voluntarily select those things that
might be more valuable for them to spend their time on. If you
want to listen to the unpaid list, no one will stop you.

> From my perspective, having to make an accounting of my resources
> every single time I post to a list renders that process more complex
> and timeconsuming. It is clear to me that your goal is to limit the
> voices on this list, and I refuse to buy into that concept.

That is a slanderous and baseless accusation. You don't have a clue
who I am; that I don't have any personal killfiles, that I have
lobbied against the moderation of Usenet groups; that I have fought
against all legislation of email. Yet you accuse me of wanting to
limit the voices on the list when I propose a system that anyone
with two working brain cells can see isn't capable of that. Thank
you, at least, for giving me information with which I can evaluate
the likely intellectual merit and honesty of your future posts.

> To me, it is vitally important that persons be encouraged to post
> more than they do, because so many wonderful ideas and thoughts are
> not getting heard here.

In my two-tiered proposal (did you even read it or are you just
reacting to your personal guess about my motives?) I suspect that
newcomers will be /more/ likely to post to the general list than
they are now, if they know that it is encouraged, and that there
is not even the existing social pressure against it. I know I
have restrained myself from sending some messages for fear of
generating too much traffic that I would gladly post to the unpaid
list if I were assured that I would not burden those uninterested.

We both respect the ideas of others, and we both want them posted
and discussed. I also respect their /time/, and do not wish to
impose a single Procrustean bed of rules on participants, but offer
them a choice.

Lee Daniel Crocker <>  <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC