Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(May 1999)

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Subject: Moderating and off-topic posts
From: David Sharp <david . sharp @ afp . com>
Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 07:49:57 +0200
To: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM

I'd be interested in the opinions of list members - plus any hard data, if
it exists - on the effects that off-topic posts can have on the overall
functioning of a list.

Also, any reflections on the types of policies a list moderator should
apply regarding off-topic or trivial posts.

I am co-moderator of a French language list for journalists (Jliste -
<>), where the problem keeps cropping up.

A small number of contributors enjoy engaging in repartee via the list,
generally on issues which have nothing much to do with the subject matter,
which is journalism and the Internet.

Occasional requests from the moderators for people to stay on-topic - which
are generally sent privately, but sometimes via the list - elicit responses
ranging in tone from "we don't give a damn," and "we could do without
political commissars" to "don't take yourselves so seriously", and "we're
just livening up the list, which is too boring."

There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that the majority of list members
consider off-topic posts to be a turn-off, and that a certain number leave
the list because of them. However the evidence remains anecdotal, because
of course most people who unsubscribe don't bother to tell us why.

Any ideas, advice and/or data on this issue?

David Sharp, journaliste, France <>
Tel (home) 331 42 64 35 94  - (office) 331 40 41 47 92
 E-mail <david .
 sharp @
 afp .
 com>	ICQ: 16881741

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