[clug-talk] Too Many Mailing List Guidelines?
sgrover at open2space.com
Tue Nov 30 10:37:34 PST 2004
On Tuesday 30 November 2004 09:52, kMajor at gov.mdrockyview.ab.ca wrote:
> Just opening a dialogue :-) not sending barbs at anyone - and I agree no
> wrong doing... just seems that the guidelines of the mailing list need to
> be broadened to include what to do with what is awaiting the moderator
It seems to me that we as a group are spending too much time talking about
guidelines than other pertinent issues. <grins>
While I agree that some guidelines are necessary, I feel that too much have a
detrimental effect. We are starting to see that effect now.
- Mr Pletch has just indicated that he is removing himself from the list,
because (in part) it is no longer a helpful or enjoyable place. (Sorry to
see you go Michael, all the best to you.)
- I have just counted 56 messages received from the list since 12:00 am Monday
morning (as of 10:49am today). Of these 55 messages, Only 11 (approx) are
specific to Linux/open source. Of those 11, 3 are about the CLUG website,
and 4 are about Suse 9.2 CDs, leaving only 4 that are of a technical nature.
The remaining 44 messages are requests for help with hardware selection,
software configuration (I didn't count the MetaDot emails in those 11, but
maybe I should have? even so, that's only 3 more), and comments about the
list and/or messages about items of interest (i.e. MS sues Linux).
I have to agree that the nature of the list has changed. When I first joined
(2 or 3 years ago now), I thought of the list as a great resource to get the
technical help I needed learn to get Linux and other open source software
running the way I needed. Now, the list is more of a social gathering where
like minded folks (that would be all of us) keep in touch, and talk about the
topic of the day. We still see some requests for help, but this does not
constitute the bulk of the messages anymore.
I feel that the list needs to be self moderating, and very "hands-off" by the
executive. I only mean this from a point of view of issuing the "executive
opinion" on some topics. If these topics and the resulting opinions are
necessary, lets create a different list. I've participated in a number of
other mailing lists, and the successful ones were the ones where the list
administrator would only act in an "official" manner in exceptional cases
(i.e. abuse of the system or other list members). These lists are successful
and popular because they are focused, and do not dictate guidelines as to how
the list should be used - they leave it to the list members to moderate
The clug-talk list used to be focused on technical matters. This is not the
case anymore. It's now focused on community matters, with a spattering of
technical messages (IMO). The list should either be about being a technical
resource for all of us, OR a community forum - but NOT both. We can (and
should) create a new list to cover the other topic. I think the need for
guidelines that keeps coming up lately is a result of this lack of focus.
Again, some are needed (i.e. thread hijacking, etc.), but creating guidelines
on what is a suitable message goes too far (IMO). Obviously, spam is spam
and has no place on the list. But a judgement call on if a non-spam message
is suitable for the list? or guidelines to help make that judgement? I say
let the list decide that in way of whether or not we read and/respond to it.
I'd also go as far to say that if we (me included) post to the list from an
address not signed up on the list, then a notification message should be sent
to the author - and leave it up to them to rectify the problem (i.e sign up
that address, or send the message from another address already on the list).
Any message posted from a non-member address should be sent the notification
and then simply ignored and directed to /dev/null (protects us from spam).
Of course, this is all just my opinion, and really, I'm not trying to offend
anyone. I wanted to point out an issue I've seen developing, and maybe get
some feedback from the list members (even if it's just to tell me to shut up
and there is no problem..<grins>). (um, respectfully, can I ask the
executive to NOT comment on this email in an executive capacity, until there
is a consensus on it? <grins>)
May I humbly propose a new mailing list called clug-community. Then all
emails such as this one could be (politely) referred to that list, and keep
clug-talk the technical resource that most of us signed up for. I think that
initially most of our traffic would end up on the community list, but in a
short while, the technical talk will far exceed the community talk (again),
if we can keep the two mostly separate.
(ps. Hopefully I used enough emoticons to express that I mean this in a light
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