|Re: Do we need two lists?||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Fred H Olson (fholsoncohousing.org)|
|Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2005 10:50:14 -0800 (PST)|
I'm replying mostly as list manager... I am not inclined to separate cohousing-L into a list about development and one about living in cohousing. There are tradeoffs to narrower/broadener topics for listservs. When there are several related narrower topic lists, people sometimes post messages on a inapropriate list - one with different narrower topic. Or a thread evolves off-topic. Every poster has to decide which list to post to and this leads to some suboptimal choices. Like the problems with changing subject lines (see below) moving a message from one list to another is problematic. Too narrow topics sometimes don't attract enough participation to be viable (or get fewer responses than the same message would get in a broader context). Sometimes a post on a narrower topic would really be get the most useful response someone who doesn't subscribe the this narrower topic list so they dont see it and don't respond. On the other hand the biggest single problem with a busy listserv like cohousing-L is that some people find the volume of messages hard to deal with. Narrower topic lists could give some relief if for people whose interests correspond to one of the narrower topics only. Others have pointed out that cohousing development issues and 'live in' issues are related enough that there would be problems and disadvantages to trying to separate the discussion. Mailman - the software that operates cohousing-L - does have an automated feature called "topics" that once defined would allow people to configure their sub to receive only selected topic messages. (Mailman would look at headers and some of the body for keywords to assign a particular message to a "topic". ) I have not experimented with these "topics" much but would anticipate similar problems to dividing the list. Cohousing-L does not currently use this feature. I have pondered having one "topic" defined - announcements which might be moderated (go thru one person or a small group to review editorially). This is a ways down my "todo" list tho. For now I encourage redoubling our efforts to write meaningful subject lines for the initial message of a thread. Changing the subject line on replies is also problematic. People don't always reply to the most recent message in a thread so there is a tendency of changed subjects to just segment the thread into multiple subject lines (which double as thread topic). But if a thread drifts too far from the original subject line, do assign a new subject line tho I encourage keeping some reference to the old subject for people trying to look up preceding messages: Subject: New subject description ............... [was: Old subject... Email suffers from many shortcomings as a way of conducting a discussion but I contend that it's still better than other systems due to messages coming to subscribers and therefore coming to their attention. Bulletin boards and web based systems require participants to "go to" the discussion periodically which is prone to declining participation. I encourage bringing up development issues on cohousing-L. Please put care into composing your message. Try to keep it concise (people dont like to read rambling messages) but get enough detail to be useful. Put a great deal of thought into the subject line to convey an idea about the topic of the message. And I encourge experienced cohousing folks to feel some obligation to help less experienced folks. I do encourage people to check the archives (via the link at the bottom of EVERY message from the list). I have found the search tool very useful tho it is possible as Bartek says to get many extraneous "hits" when the search phrase is not uniquely used for the idea one is searching for. Try other words, a combination of words etc. Note that there is an option to just search just subject lines. (There is a link to search tips is on every results page.) If searching does not find an answer post a (well worded) message/question. On some - particularly technical - lists one can sense something that makes one reluctant to post novice questions. I don't think we have that on cohousing-L too much ; all cohousing related questions are welcome. Fred, cohousing-L list manager -- Fred H. Olson Minneapolis,MN 55411 USA (near north Mpls) Communications for Justice - My new listserv org. UU, Linux My Link Page: http://fholson.cohousing.org Ham radio:WB0YQM fholson at cohousing.org 612-588-9532 (7am-10pm Central time)
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