Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(July 2002)

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Subject: Re: MUA elitism
From: J C Lawrence <claw @ kanga . nu>
Date: Fri, 05 Jul 2002 16:06:17 -0700
To: rogerk @ queernet . org
Cc: "Tom Neff" <tneff @ grassyhill . net>, list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: Message from "Roger B.A. Klorese" <rogerk @ queernet . org> of "Fri, 05 Jul 2002 14:20:44 -0800." <1025904044 . smmsdV1 . 1 . 0 @ localhost>
References: <1025904044 . smmsdV1 . 1 . 0 @ localhost>

On Fri,  5 Jul 2002 14:20:44 -0800 
Roger B A Klorese <Roger> wrote:

> 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.

Again, this devolves to a question of purpose, and then the question of
the democracy of the loudest voice versus creator's or owner's intent.
In the general case the majority of list members are and remain silent.
The highest posting percentage I've ever managed to reach was just over
70%, and that thru very artificial manipulation of the membership roster
(invitation only, self-selected for loquacity etc).  More typical
posting percentages run from 20% down with figures far less than 10%
being typical.

Salons are comfortable, heartening, and even useful, but they don't
necessarily relate to the purpose of the list, and in the case of a list
moving towards a salon, they never relate to the original purpose.
Instead they're a form of elder game.  

Possibly the most interesting aspect here is that the simple address of
forking the list and splitting off a duplicate list (identical
membership) with a charter explicitly targeted for a salon always
fails. The new list dies for lack of traffic, lack of participation, and
lack of interest.  The apparency is that there is something about the
purposive aspect of the original list which effectively acted as a
carrier to support and catalyse the salon activities.

You can argue that the posting members of the list (who are after all
the ones who contribute and build the list) by their vocal preference
for a salon have rewritten the list charter from purposive to salon, but
that ignores the silent majority who (largely) can be safely presumed to
have joined the list on the basis of its charter and not on the basis of
the coffee klatch behaviour of its most vocal members.  Who is the
customer?  Who is being served?  The loud mouth, the guy which too much
free time and an over-used keyboard, the bombast, or the guy who is
there in a largely silent but earnest attempt to fulfill the original
and stated purpose of the list?

<Insert old saw about democracy and free speech belong to those who own
a printing press>

J C Lawrence                
---------(*)                Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas. 
claw @
 kanga .
 nu               He lived as a devil, eh?  Evil is a name of a foeman, as I live.

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