Getting Along Online
Brian Mulvaney (email@example.com)
Tue Dec 09 06:25:21 1997
This came along today and so I thought to pass it along. This list is now
over 3 years old and yet it is very quiet. Maybe this might renew some and
introduce new discussions.
"The Natural Life Cycle Of Mailing Lists"
(This is was written by Kat Nagel (KatNagel@eznet.net) in December 1994.)
"Every list seems to go through the same cycle:
"1.Initial enthusiasm (people introduce themselves, and gush a lot about
how wonderful it is to find kindred souls).
2.Evangelism (people moan about how few folks are posting to the list, and
brainstorm recruitment strategies).
3.Growth (more and more people join, more and more lengthy threads develop,
occasional off-topic threads pop up).
4.Community (lots of threads, some more relevant than others; lots of
information and advice is exchanged; experts help other experts as well as
less experienced colleagues; friendships develop; people tease each other;
newcomers are welcomed with generosity and patience; everyone -- newbie and
expert alike -- feels comfortable asking questions, suggesting answers, and
5.Discomfort with diversity (the number of messages increases dramatically;
not every thread is fascinating to every reader; people start complaining
about the signal-to-noise ratio; person 1 threatens to quit if *other*
people don't limit discussion to person 1's pet topic; person 2 agrees with
person 1; person 3 tells 1 & 2 to lighten up; more bandwidth is wasted
complaining about off-topic threads than is used for the threads
themselves; everyone gets annoyed).
1.Smug complacency and stagnation (the purists flame everyone who asks an
'old' question or responds with humor to a serious post; newbies are
rebuffed; traffic drops to a doze producing level of a few minor issues;
all interesting discussions happen by private email and are limited to a
few participants; the purists spend lots of time self-righteously
congratulating each other on keeping off-topic threads off the list).
2.Maturity (a few people quit in a huff; the rest of the participants
stay near stage 4, with stage 5 popping up briefly every few weeks; many
people wear out their second or third 'delete' key, but the list lives
contentedly ever after)."