>Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 07:49:57 +0200
>From: David Sharp <david .
>Subject: Moderating and off-topic posts
>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.
(portions deleted for brevity)
>Any ideas, advice and/or data on this issue?
>_______________________[ End ]_______________________
I had exactly the same problem, and I'd know by my dropout
rate when too much drivel was being posted. However, a neat solution
fell into my lap, and it has been surprisingly successful.
(1) I created a companion mailing list. It is called the [HotTub] but
other names may be equally effective "BackPorch", "Patio", "Veranda".
(2) Participation in the [HotTub] is optional.
* Subscription to the original list, [RixPlace], is a requirement.
* The [HotTub] is announced and publicized only in [RixPlace].
* [RixPlace] has a Digest edition. The [HotTub] does not.
(3) Any non-[RixPlace] topic is allowed in the [HotTub]. And they
have run through an interesting set of topics, from rock-and-roll to
gun control to just mindless chit-chat.
(4) I drafted my most frequent off-topic offender as the [HotTub] host,
solely responsible for subscriptions and content. The only hatchet I held
was the ability to just turn it off. I do not meddle at all, and I beat up
draftee host on a regular basis when I see messages which require his
attention. After a couple of months, my draftee host had a much greater
appreciation for the work that I do <G>. We now get along pretty well,
and he even seeks my advice from time to time for errant Hottubbers.
(5) Once a month or so a thread briefly appears in the [HotTub]
that rightly belonged in [RixPlace]. If it gets very interesting, I suggest to
the [HotTub] host that he nudge the thread back to [RixPlace]. The
"argument" is that the author deserves a wider audience for his words.
After the 3rd month I stopped worrying about it.
(6) Hard data: 40% of [RixPlace] has joined the [HotTub]. It has
stayed pretty consistent for the last 14 months. Less than 2% of
[HotTub] subscribers have quit in disgust at the content. The volume
of traffic in both lists is about the same.
How does this work? Very well! I allow the first off-topic reply to
remain in [RixPlace]. It depends on the daily traffic. If a thread digresses
too far, then it is referred (banished?!) to the [HotTub]. Usually the
[RixPlace] subscribers will speak up before I do.
The [HotTub] keeps me out of a "censorship" role, and I have
not had that issue raised in [RixPlace] in a year.
Rick Jaggers (mailto:Rick @
http://www.rixplace.com ***** http://www.rixplace.com/Hottub