Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(May 1999)
 

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Subject: Re:Moderating and off-topic posts
From: David Sharp <david . sharp @ afp . com>
Date: Tue, 4 May 1999 05:52:23 +0200
To: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM

Many thanks to all who took the time to respond to my message.

This has confirmed several things for me. In particular that:

-- There are as many ways of moderating a list as there are types of people
who do it (which is why it's good to be able to compare notes with other
list managers)

-- Keeping track of "unsubscribe" messages to see if they correlate with
bursts of off-topic activity is a good idea.

I haven't been tracking subscribe and unsubscribe data for our list, but
will now begin doing so.

SRE <eckert @
 climber .
 org>  wrote:
>On the lists I run, serious flames (lasting more than a day and with more
>than 10 posts) cause about 3 out of 400 subscribers to leave. The unsub
>flurries are directly linked with flames, so I use Mj2's "taboo-headers"
>configuration to bounce messages after posting to the list that the
>discussion is off-topic.

This confirms my gut feeling, which is that the number of people who are
put off by off-topic activity is greater than the vocal minority who think
they have a right to say what they like.

-- Setting up a "back porch" type list for off-topic discussions, as
suggested by Rick Jaggers <rjaggers @
 randomc .
 com> sounds like a great idea.

I saw the "back porch" idea work once on the Online News list, when the
Lewinsky/Clinton story broke, and several members just couldn't resist the
temptation to discuss it. In that case it was an individual list member,
and not the moderator, who set up a parallel list, via Onelist.

The only proviso would be, in the case of the French journalism list, that
the "back porch" list would probably have to be run on one of the free
services, and not via the paid service which we use for the main list. As
we aren't rich (yet), I don't think we could justify spending yet more
money on a list which by definition is off-topic.

Marc Haber <Marc .
 Haber-lists @
 gmx .
 de> writes:
>
>Just a quick question: Does your list specify the list address in the
>Reply-To: field?
>
No. I agree that's an invitation to off-topic posters.

It's also extremely risky, given that the great majority of lists are
configured so that the reply-to field contains the poster's and not the
list, address.

I participate in one mailing list that's configured that way, and I have to
be very careful when making personal replies to posts on it, as it's
fatally easy to forget that the reply is going to the whole list. As we all
know, this can cause some excruciatingly embarrassing situations.


--
David Sharp, journaliste, France <http://www.vavi.com/>
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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