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a modest proposal

From: Ray Stell <>
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 17:24:44 -0400
Message-ID: <>

A list, Signal-to-Noise Ratio proposal...

The absolute best list I ever saw envolved with was the DEC alpha managers list. It was operated in a completely different way, no fluff, ever, period. Even more important was this, when a question was posted, the community replied to the author directly, not to the list. Keep reading before you go off in a huff....

It was the job of the originator to post a meaningful summary which could consist of the complete posts of the responders as needed. Sometimes this was necessary since the originator didn't understand the responses.

The responders would be responsible for policing the other summary authors for their work quality. If somebody was a bottom-feeder they didn't hang around very long as the responders could run him off via the list owner or by just not responding to those on the black list. If someone disrupted the flow, it might take some follow-up posts to clear things up, but it was amazing what a high level people operated at. DEC developers were right there with you, really cool.

I proposed that idea in some incarnation of this list years ago. The idea was summarily blown off because the list folks wanted the freedom to post anything they wanted and I'll bet they didn't trust that they would get a good summary. They probably didn't get the idea that the responders could rat out the bad guys and very quickly raise the community standard. It does require an active moderator at least in the early stages.

True, there was less freedom to post your sarcasm. That would have to be given up. You have to decide what kind of list you want. I don't think you can play it both ways as it is typically done here.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

The reason Ben is right about oracle-l is because people operate as if they don't deserve freedom. If they had done so, we wouldn't need to give up the essential liberty as described in the proposal.

On Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 03:08:56PM -0500, Jesse, Rich wrote:
> For me as a newbie at one point in various lists, I've looked at the
> list's FAQ (among other places) before posting. Having been on this
> list for the past 4 list servers or so, I haven't bothered looking for
> one recently, but a quick search following the link at the bottom of
> every post didn't reveal one. Perhaps one could be added, if only as a
> pointer to or or something?
> Also, despite the vast differences in the list members, I do think there
> is much to be said for posters, both newbie and guru alike, to follow
> resonable guidelines. Despite some of the negative connotations to it's
> intended audience ("Below-the-line" for those who have gone thru
> accountability training), I think
> is an excellent
> resource for all posters of this and any other "professional" list.
> My abbreviated $.02,
> Rich
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> Sent: Friday, October 21, 2005 12:50 AM
> To: oracle-l
> Subject: RTFM replies
> I am receiving 65 messages per day, very few interesting ones among
> them. Most of
> these messages are sheer clutter, usually saying things like "here is my
> query, why
> is it slow". The net result is the fact that this list is becoming less
> and less
> [snip]
> --
> Mladen Gogala
> --

Ray Stell   (540) 231-4109  Tempus fugit      28^D
Received on Fri Oct 21 2005 - 16:26:50 CDT

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