Re: comparisons with other lists

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Mon Aug 06 2001 - 02:07:32 MDT

Spike, your experiences with other lists seem to fit mine too.

On the extropians list there is a lot of noise, a lot of strong words but
also some good posts. People who can stand this mix stay, people who get
too upset leave (it doesn't matter if they leave for a good reason or not,
they will leave in any case). The result is a kind of stable environment
where the occasional upsurge of a gun or racism debate is just an upsurge.
It is a bit like selforganized criticality in physics.

Compare this to a quiet list, where everybody keeps on-topic most of the
time and contentious issues seldom come up. When such an issue appears, it
causes a serious disruption of the normal list culture, sometimes to the
extent that key people leave and the list dies. This is likely a question
about how strong investment people have in the list culture; if they feel
it to be important to them, they will try to remain and fight to retain it,
even by not bashing other people as hard as they think they morally ought
to. This model predicts that a flamewar would get far more serious on a
quiet list with less strong investment in list culture than on a quiet list
with many long-term members committed to the list culture or subject. The
most flame resistant lists would be the noisy ones.

It seems to fit in with my experience on the Swedish transhumanist list
omega where the first serious flamewar practically broke it. Spike, how
would you rate the investment people make in list culture on the lists you

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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