On 2 May 99, at 7:49, David Sharp wrote:
> 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.
Well, IMO, one of the key roles of the moderator is to "enforce" the
list's charter. If the charter states that the list has some specific
purpose or is supposed to focus on some set of topics, then the moderator
should *reject* the off topic stuff.
> 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.
But subscribers can't do that: the way you have to say this is "the
moderators have been allowing a small number of contributors ...". If
this kind of 'chat' is within the scope of the list charter, then you're
stuck: you have to amend the charter, let the listmembers know, then you
can enforce the new rules. If it is not, then the moderators (and the
other listmembers!) have no one to blame
> 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."
Get their attention more directly: don't just request via private email,
send the request as part of a 'reject' message.
If some folk think that the list is too boring, suggest that they
subscribe to a joke-of-the-day mailing list or two and set their email
filters to file your list-traffic and the j-o-t-d traffic into the same
folder, and they can pretend it all came in from one list.
Bernie Cosell Fantasy Farm Fibers
com Pearisburg, VA
--> Too many people, too few sheep <--