Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(May 1999)

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Subject: Re: Moderating and off-topic posts
From: Olwen Williams <olwen @ ihug . co . nz>
Date: Mon, 03 May 1999 08:05:05 +1200
To: David Sharp <david . sharp @ afp . com>, list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
References: <v03007800b35197f8346a @ [212 . 198 . 178 . 4]>

This happens the whole time on a list I run about obesity surgery.  We have a
parallel list just for chat.  There are about 841 people on the main list as I
write and 195 on the other list.  Some people haven't liked the moderation
policy and have gone of and started other lists.  Our feeling is that with 840
people (and growing by the day) that we can't please everyone, and a lot of
people like it as it is.  One reason for moderating (apart from stopping flame
wars) was that many people complained about the level of mail, and the
off-topic posts.

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.
> I am co-moderator of a French language list for journalists (Jliste -
> <>), where the problem keeps cropping up.
> 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.
> 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."
> There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that the majority of list members
> consider off-topic posts to be a turn-off, and that a certain number leave
> the list because of them. However the evidence remains anecdotal, because
> of course most people who unsubscribe don't bother to tell us why.
> Any ideas, advice and/or data on this issue?
> --
> David Sharp, journaliste, France <>
> Tel (home) 331 42 64 35 94  - (office) 331 40 41 47 92
>  E-mail <david .
 sharp @
 afp .
 com>   ICQ: 16881741

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