>That varies by the choice of topic and the preferences (and energy) of
>list admins, obviously. Some lists devolve into a general
>chowder-and-marching society for the clique of core subscribers, while
>others make at least a halfhearted effort to stay on topic.
Again, "devolve" vs. "effort" indicates what you think is *the* *way*
*it* *ought* *to* *be*, at least so it seems. But for many people, they
don't fail to achieve that -- it's never a goal. Those lists are not
intended to be on-topic -- they're intended to be salons that attract
people who have some overlapping interests.