Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(February 2003)

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Subject: Re: not about (was Re: PLEASE DO NOT CC ME ON MESSAGES TO THIS
From: bwarsaw @ python . org (Barry A. Warsaw)
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 16:30:22 -0500
To: Chuq Von Rospach <chuqui @ plaidworks . com>
Cc: J C Lawrence <claw @ kanga . nu>, Tom Neff <tneff @ grassyhill . net>, list-managers @ greatcircle . com
References: <23445 . 1046202941 @ kanga . nu> <8263C069-4903-11D7-B4B5-0003934516A8 @ plaidworks . com>

>>>>> "CVR" == Chuq Von Rospach <chuqui @
 plaidworks .
 com> writes:

    CVR> I've actually spent time tracking down and interviewing
    CVR> lurkers, to see why they lurk. It pretty much boils down to:

    CVR> 1) by the time I'd get around to saying something, someone
    CVR> else already has.

    CVR> 2) I don't feel qualified to comment on it. (which I can say
    CVR> is definitely not true for many of the lurkers I've talked
    CVR> to, but in many cases, it's a polite way of saying:)

    CVR> 3) I don't feel like fighting for face time on the list.

Two other observations from my lurkers:

4) Some folks are just not very comfortable or proficient with the
   simple act of typing.  It can take them a very long time or a lot
   of effort to compose messages so they don't do it very often.
   Maybe they're dyslexic, or maybe they aren't a native speaker,

5) The more shy lurkers will often contact list members or list admins
   directly to ask questions, much like at a public lecture where some
   people are too shy to stand in front of the mic, but will come up
   after your presentation.

I think it's fine if people want to lurk, but I'm also happy to see
experiments like Chuq's which encourage folks to participate in low
stress (and hopefully enjoyable) ways.  Lurkers tend to think a lot
instead of just (ahem, guilty as charged :) spewing the first thing
that comes to mind, so when they /do/ contribute, it's often with
valuable insights.

I also like ideas that are morphing traditional discussion mailing
lists into more diverse communication tools.  I've had some ideas
about autoblogging newsletters which I'd love to find time to play
with <wink>.  I'm a dinosaur so I'm comfortable with email, but there
are lots of ways to participate.  Email is almost just an
implementation detail.


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