Re: META: List Focus

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sat Oct 06 2001 - 12:23:59 MDT

Anders posted an analysis of how chatty the list is and Mark
offered the suggestion of an Extropian scale rating.

Rant mode on.

Anders happened to do his survey on my birthday, so there
was some list "noise" associated with that fact. Of course,
*I* do not think messages by people acknowledging my birthday
should be considered as "noise"! :-)

Mark didn't literally copy the Subject line from Anders post and
as a result, it isn't getting grouped with the conversation in
the Javien archives. [PEOPLE(!) please be aware of the fact
that Extropian "mailing list" is no longer simply a mailing
list. It is archived in at least 2 forums. Until the software
gets much more intelligent, if you want to be part of a
conversation, you *NEED* to pay attention to the Subject lines.]

As some of you are aware, I gave up on the Extropian "mailing list"
concept a year ago or more. The noise to signal ratio is simply
too high to be bothered deleting most of the messaages from my mailbox.
Friends to whom I have recomended the list subscribe to it and then
unsubscribe relatively quickly for the same reason. Only if
there is a topic of very high interest (e.g. are we living in
a simulation) do I resubscribe for brief periods. Our "message"
is not getting shared because so much of it is simply not
our "message".

I typically browse the Javien archives now for useful stuff but
consider that rather noisy as well. What is needed is something
that combines the best features of Slashdot, the Javien forum
and mailing lists.

The Slashdot approach is good for the reasons that (a) You can get
headline trailers from it; (b) messages get moderated up or down;
(c) it has catagories that you can subscribe to or ignore. The
Javien forum is very good from the perspective of displaying the
conversation flow in a visual manner, but I can't seem to make
the review/rate functions work (and even if they did, I doubt
enough people are currently using the Javien Forum to make it
as useful as the Slashdot moderation functions are.

Both Slashdot and Javien's Forum suffer from the lack of
integration with email software. If I start a conversation,
I should not have to continue returning to it to "hear" what
is going on. A conversation once started should end up putting
messages into my mailbox until it either fades away, or I instruct
the conversation "monitor" to stop forwarding messages from that
conversation. Presumably, each conversation should accumulate
its own unique "mailing list" for everyone who has contributed
to the conversation. Similarly the conversation moderating
agent should be able to selectively search for "keywords" or
"authors" and forward posts containing those to my mailbox.
This type of approach provides the best of both worlds --
I can treat the Javien Forum or a Slashdot hosting system as
a "newspaper" that I read for news. I can also use them as
a "conversation manager" to function as a facilitator for
conversations between people with similar interests.

Now, currently we don't have the software to do that --
for this to work more people need to use the Javien forum
and more people need to contribute to the development of
the software (it is open source after all).

In the meantime, I would argue that the best solution to the
problem may be to create an additional mailing list or two.
[This could eventually morph into the "subscription topics" you
have in systems like Slashdot.

I'd argue that "extropians" list should move more towards
hard-core extropic topics. I think a new list should be
created for the "social" conversations (e.g. exi-social)
where presumably 50% of the content will be authored by Spike. (:-))
An additional possibility is the creation of a list which
is focused on "news-of-interest" (exi-news) where the long
repostings from other sources or URLs to such topics should be posted.
If we write these up as guidelines and discipline ourselves
to follow them, this would go a long way toward meeting the
needs of the group until a more intelligent system can be

Rant mode off.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:12 MDT