Re: META: List Focus

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Sat Oct 06 2001 - 15:42:17 MDT

On Sat, Oct 06, 2001 at 11:23:59AM -0700, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
> 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"! :-)

Actually, I didn't count them as noise either. Congratulations,
and sorry for not congratualting yesterday - it would have
interfered with the experiment. :-)

OK, to comment on the responses so far:

I like Mark's suggestion for rating posts, but beside the
thread-handling problem there are also issues of people just
responding without changing the value and similar minor details.
Robert has some good points about the general problems with high
volume forums, and I think it is worth considering if we could
improve the list by some extra lists.

But these are all technical fixes, and while I like technical
fixes as much as the next promethean god-wannabee :-) I think
they will not solve the core problem. The core problem seems to
be more of a social problem: the socialising crowds out the
transhumanism, and the very open forum (and movement) while
promoting diversity also promotes lack of focus and consensus.

> 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.

Exactly. When I was feeling the most pessimistic while counting
the posts yesterday I considered leaving the list, but realised
that it still has a positive value to me just because I have so
many friends on the list. But that if we decide that the
extropians is a suitable watering hole, we need another, more
focused forum for developing transhumanist thinking. It doesn't
have to be closed, but has to keep high standards.

>> 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

I agree. And I think the broad spectrum of information gathered
onto this list is one of its more valuable aspects. It is just
that it is a bit sad that it is not *us* who are the information

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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