Re: A plea for restraint

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Wed Oct 11 2000 - 21:50:07 MDT

Alex Future Bokov wrote:
> On Wed, 11 Oct 2000, Samantha Atkins wrote:
> > Alex Future Bokov wrote:
> > >
> >
> Btw, I'd like to retroactively tone down this outburst, which was
> directed at the software and the medium of email and certainly not at
> the admins of this list who work hard at it, and are great at what they
> do. I hope nobody took it that way.
> > The slash clones are even more primitive in providing mail/mailing list
> > services than email is. If slash incorporates at least as much
> > capability for discussions, threading, offline processing of mail,
> ^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^ ^^ ^^^^
> Got this. Got this. What do you mean by this?
> > private/public replies and so on then I would use it more. Otherwise,
> Hmm. A good idea, I suppose. Although in Slash clones you do get the
> author's mailto: link which you can click to email them *if* the author
> chooses to make their personal email address avaialble to the public.

I am often frustrated because the nature of slash discussions are such
that the comments on a particular point are arranged according to
responder trees between the subject. This makes it difficult to
impossible to see a time based collection of all responses as they are
spread among the different subtrees. The best would be if the system
came with software to extract out the message base and rearrange it in
various canned (or if one is so inclined) novel ways. I would like to
be able to do things like searches within all messages in response to a
certain post and/or within all messages. I can do some of this with
standard Unix style mail files. But I lose a lot of this ability under

The threading is again in the subject(author-reply1 tree,
author-reply2-tree, .. author-replyn tree) form. I can't even see all
the replies to the subject for a given author if they have responded
within multiple subtrees. This is not a very effective type of
threading for the type of information I want.

For discussions you need to be able to see the set of ideas and the
variations that have arisen and how they evolved over time and to
cross-cut any particular rigid organization of the information like the
slash response-trees to work toward clarification and resolution. A
rigid hiearchical structure on the offerings to the "discussion" simply
has the effect of enabling the conversation to dribble off into ever
smaller streamlets of increasingly less conclusive or inclusive remarks
more often than not. It is structurally counter-productive to good

> I welcome specific suggestions, though. Even if it's just one thing the
> mailing list does that the Extropy Institute slash site
> ( doesn't currently do. You may be surprised
> by what sorts of suggestions we *could* incorporate, and just haven't
> thought of or haven't realized they could be useful to somebody.
> Frankly I'm surprised to see resistance to innovation on *this* list.

I have little resistance to something actually better. I have a lot of
resistance to things that are new but keep me from being able to do
things I already knew how to do (although often clumsily) before. As an
extropian I am interested in innovations that increase my capabilities
and understanding. I am not interested in innovation simply for
innovation's sake. I have been around long enough to see all too many
"innovations" that were actually less capable than what was done before
in crical areas while providing some welcome newness in others.

- samantha

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