[p2p-research] a short message on our list culture and authority arguments

M. Fioretti mfioretti at nexaima.net
Mon Nov 9 11:44:03 CET 2009

On Mon, Nov 09, 2009 16:24:50 PM +0700, Michel Bauwens wrote:

I agree that 300 is too much, I didn't count them myself, but
realized this weekend that it was a huge effort to get through my

If you split the list everybody'll waste even more time than now
wondering on which list they should post, telling those who posted on
the wrong list that they should have posted on the other one and so
on. I've seen this happen many times.

Two bits of general advice, feel free to ignore them completely, no
answer necessary:

1) I've had no problem at all to handle the burst of traffic on this
   mailing list in the last week: I deleted everything tenths of
   message at a time without ever opening them. There is NO obligation
   to read all messages from a mailing list. If something from any
   mailing list has any combination of:

           - empty or unclear subject ("Look at this", "Feedback
           - clear subject, but I am not really interested in it
           - subject hidden, that is pushed outside of the email
             client window because people use bad email clients adding
             non-standard prefixes every time: Re: Ri: Aw: Re:...  and
             don't bother to remove them manually after they get to

   I immediately delete it without opening it. Also because of #2
   below. Of course, I can do this because I'm not the founder,
   spiritual lead, coordinator or anything else of this particualr
   list, Michel can't afford such a behavior, but see again #2.

2) Sorry Michel, I know that I look very boring about this, but I only
   repost these suggestions because YOU are the one who said he was
   overwhelmed by the amount of traffic. Please understand that this
   is meant to help keeping the list usable and effective. You need to
   change your email habits (ONLY as far as mailing lists are
   concerned) and ask others to do the same.

   Maybe some day there will be something completely new that
   EVERYBODY will accept to use, but here and now we're all stuck with
   mailing lists for public discussions, because Internet forums,
   blogs replies and anything else browser based are a no-no for most
   people. It may be wrong but it's a fact.

   So, you need to come to terms with the fact that email based public
   discussion through a mailing list is VERY different from private
   email. In the first case you have to accept the fact the poster
   must spend time every time he or she posts, to make each message
   readable in order to keep the whole list usable and useful. I know
   you and other active posters here can't bear this idea because
   practicing it with the specific email clients you chose means that
   you should do some manual work every time. But 5/10 seconds
   "wasted" to format each message sent to a list mean minutes gained
   from every single recipient of that message. Since on mailing lists
   every subscriber receives many more messages than he or she

   Your own words prove this:

   it was as if it came in more rapidly than I could even process in
   real time ...

  The explanation is very simple. This happens because of the
  systematic refusal of netiquette that is practiced here. THE reason
  why you can't handle the load is because, unless traffic comes very
  slowly and all subscribers have nothing else to think about and
  remember, you and everybody else:

  - MUST read all the messages of a thread that arrived after your
    MESSAGE FROM BEGINNING TO END, if you want to figure out what the
    discussion is about, who is replying to who and so on.

  because the only alternative, that is taking the last message and
  reading it from bottom to top, would take much more time.

  Trim as much as possible before replying, use only plain text with
  universally recognized "quoted text" markers, reply BELOW the quoted
  text, always reply or post ONLY to the list to decrease the number
  of messages, cross-replies and so on... and above all ENFORCE these
  rules. Then downloading all the messages and making sense out of
  them will take much less time. Using email formatting rules that
  have proven their effectiveness in decades makes it possible, when
  you open the inbox and find a 50-message thread inside it, to ONLY
  OPEN THE LAST ONE and immediately get an idea of what's happening.

Again, I like you guys a lot and private email is a whole different,
much more forgiving beast. This is all well meaning advice, I don't
mean to start a flame war.

If you want to give up the mailing list, OK. If you want to use it
without wasting time, SPEND some little time formatting your messages
properly and demand the same from all other subscribers. The result
will be that everybody will be encouraged to join discussions more
often and above all everybody will spend much less time following the
list. Unless you do as I do, of course, that is (for the very reason
explained above) systematically cancel without ever opening them 90%
of the messages from this list which are replies to other messages.


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