Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(June 1995)
 

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Subject: Re: Mailing list Manager statistics
From: Eric Thomas <ERIC @ SEARN . SUNET . SE>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 1995 17:49:59 +0200
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com, Info-LabVIEW List Maintainer <info-labview-request @ pica . army . mil>
In-reply-to: Message of Tue, 27 Jun 95 11:30:51 EDT from list-managers-owner @ GreatCircle . COM

On   Tue,  27   Jun  95   11:30:51  EDT   Info-LabVIEW  List   Maintainer
<info-labview-request @
 pica .
 army .
 mil> said:

>Sorry,  Eric: You're  wrong.  It's  for people  who  run mailing  lists.
>Automated or otherwise.

I see.  Well, the fact  that I didn't even  know we were  also discussing
manually maintained lists says a lot about just how well manual lists are
represented on this list.

>>ratio of Majordomo to say ListProc questions posted to the list...
>
>Should be the same, actually. Zero to zero equals zero.

Zero to  zero may  occasionally equal  zero if  you're talking  about the
limit of an  integral, series or the  like and the function  is such that
the limit of the quotient is zero. Here we're talking about a denumerable
set  so this  is plain  old  fashioned arithmetics  and zero  to zero  is
undefined. But  nevermind. Anyway,  you may  want to take  a look  at the
archives.  There was  a long,  long discussion  about how  to handle  the
countless Majordomo questions that were  being sent here even though they
belonged to Majordomo-users.

>>a large list whose membership can  be reasonably considered to span all
>>sorts of  backgrounds and cultures  (say a  list like TOPTEN  which all
>>sorts of  people subscribe to), and  ask them if they're  subscribed to
>>lists, and  how many, and how  they're maintained. TOPTEN isn't  a good
>>example though  because the list  of subscribers isn't public,  but you
>>get the idea.
>
>I disagree. But that's OK.

It's not ok really, but  it's normal. Statistics and probabilities aren't
particularly  simple or  intuitive  sciences. In  our  everyday lives  we
seldom  have to  worry about  rigorously majoring  error margins  and the
like. We make  ballpark estimates based on our intuition  and that's good
enough. When we're not  sure we ask around. But of  course when the issue
at hand is making a statement like "x% of lists are managed this way", we
have to be more careful, especially as the statement will be repeated and
become an  urban legend. The  truth is that no  one knows and  the normal
statistical approaches would require a  large sample in order to properly
represent  all   professional  fields,  countries,  cultures,   types  of
connectivity, etc. And yes, there  are significant variations from one to
the other.

  Eric


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