Re: META: List Focus

From: Michael M. Butler (
Date: Sat Oct 06 2001 - 13:30:10 MDT

Anders' post deserves a more thoughtful reply than I can frame just at the moment.
However, I want to acknowledge that
1) he's on target, and
2) I don't know what to do about it.
All posts are not created equal.

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> practically all cases just traditional views, exactly similar to what
> you would hear on any other mailing list. No applying of extropian ideas
> to current situations, no deeper analysis of how the situation affects
> the extropian project beyond traditional narratives.

Taken as read.

> Is there a problem here? I think so. The social interaction part is
> important, without it extropians would just be an ordinary SIG. But when
> the actual extropian content becomes so small (the core posts were just
> 7.7%) the list becomes just an ordinary forum in any case. That means
> that developing new extropian ideas and concepts is not best done here.

I am assuming this is raw post count, not based on word count or something.

Agreed. This is part of the neverending "Is 'extropians' a watering hole, a
recruiting office, or a SIG?" question. 'extropians' is my watering hole;
I have no other; I try to add value any way I can. Humor, etc. has led to
my finding perhaps a dozen people _really_ worth knowing. Usually, I'm posting
for them.

> Sure, there is a fairly positive audience here, but the total brainpower
> is directed at everyday issues rather than extropian issues, and the
> real extropian discussion never gets off the ground. It is a bit like
> the critical mass problem with mailing lists: a too small list,
> regardless of how good it is, will not sustain itself. Here we have a
> small extropians list embedded in a big noisy forum.


> I personally hate the eternal list quality discussion - it has recurred
> since the Golden Days and will likely continue until the omega point.
> But I think this is more serious than just people flaming each other or
> saying stupid things: it is about a lack of focus that is undermining
> the development of transhumanist ideas at a cruicial point in time.

Time to create the exi-hardcore list. Sorry, but if that's what you want,
that's the way to get it. And the condition is necessary but not sufficient,
for all the obvious reasons. Idea: _pay_ people for quality posts. Don't
penalize people for doing "lateral" things, or even for fiddling while the
WTC burns.
> I find it worrying that many of the most extropian posts were re-posts
> from elsewhere. Jaron Lanier's post today would definitely have made it
> into my "really extropian" category, and he is one of our main critics!
> If we don't produce any good ideas ourselves, others will do it instead.

"Worrying?" Hmm.

I was the guy who forwarded that. If I don't (re)post things that matter,
I'm not doing my job as a list member. If I don't have time or attention,
at least I bring it to the attention to people who might. I'm still
thinking about it, I'm just not saying anything. Conduits still add value.

I will try to make myself more useful here. "Roger, Wilco!"


Job One:  MAKE YOURSELF USEFUL.  If you're not part of the solution, 
  what are you doing scumming up the bottom of our beaker? --MMB  
"Let's roll." --Last words heard over Todd Beamer's cell phone 
   before the counterassault aboard UA93, 02001.09.11.~10:10EDT

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