[MUD-Dev] META: Making the list public?

Shawn Halpenny malachai at iname.com
Wed Jul 16 10:06:56 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

clawrenc at cup.hp.com wrote:
> Writing as List Owner:
> For a variety of reasons and with considerable encouragement I'm
> considering taking the list public.  Mainly this will consist of
> advertising it in r.g.m.announce and setting up a supporting web page.
> I'm interested in arguments for, against, and surrounding this motion.
> I'm especially interested in concerns, predicted problems, or possible
> ideas for heading off problems.
> A)  Should the archives be requestable or browsable by non-members?
> Note that this effectively makes ever poster's email address open.

Were I a non-member interested in some of the things that are
discussed on the list, but not interested in becoming a member, this
would be welcome.  I'm not sure that configuration is even possible...

I particularly like the idea of having the archives browsable by list
members.  I haven't the space requirements to store every article
that comes up on the list, so I find myself hanging on to the ones of
particular interest to me.  The drawback, of course, is that there
are occasionally times when I need to check that one, three-sentence
argument clincher a few articles back in the thread and discover that
I no longer have the article.

> B)  Should the list be echoed (one way) to a newsgroup?  If it is
> echoed to a newsgroup should that group be a private group on a
> private newsserver, or should I create a moderated alt.mud.development
> group?

My concern with this is the distribution of the newsgroup.  I read
posts to the list while at work and reply to them when I have spare
time.  I do not know how receptive the newsserver admins would be to
picking up the new group (it being mud-related and potentially
detracting from work).  Even if they did, since I'm a contractor,
I've no guarantee of being at this place of work for a definitive
time, meaning I have to make sure the next location I am at carries
the group.  The alternative is to only participate on the list, but
since the group is one way (a must, I think, if that route were
chosen), any discussion that doesn't filter back to the list from the
group is inaccessible to me.

Perhaps echoing to an existing newsgroup with decent distribution is
an option?

> C) Should the list be split into seperate lists, divided by topic?
> What should the topic splits be?  (Note: I'm not keen on this motion.
> Convince me)

Definitely not.  If the list were split into, say, game design issues
(social, political, economic, world-building stuff, etc.) and the
technical nuts-and-bolts of implementation, I would almost
exclusively read the technical list, regardless of the importance of
the non-technical.  Having the two lists combined makes me think
about things that I would probably not consider or come up with on my
own--from both sides.  Splitting the list would also hamper the
possibility of overlap between the two, something useful and which
I've seen occur a number of times on the current list.

> D) How should the list be publicised?  As part of this can the current
> list invitation be extended as the publicity banner, and if so, how
> should it be modified?  (Hey, Keegan!  How about that invitation
> update for the introduction message!)

Not sure how I'd approach this.

> E) How should new membership be handled?
>   Possible membership options:
>     1) Publicise the list but only allow membership by application.
> ie New members would have to apply, stating *why* they should be
> considered as members.  These applications would be posted to the list
> as well as my decisions on them.  (I'm not fond of this approach for
> the overhead it puts on me).

I think we can assume that we are intelligent enough to judge a
person on his or her own merits where contributions to the list are
considered, meaning I think the current method of membership is fine.
The posting of the applications to the list would be more wasteful
noise than signal.

>     2) Publicise the fact of the list, but leave membership by
> invitation only.  Require any new member to be sponsored by an
> existant member.

This I like, though it seems somewhat at odds with publicizing the list:
how do people who don't know anyone on the list join?

>     3) Variation on #2: require the sponsor to also be an actively
> posting member.

Have to determine what constitutes an actively posting member.  Also,
what if Bubba, who is not a frequent contributor to the list, but
reads everything that comes across it, has friend Boffo who has
tonnes of ideas and wants to join the list?  Does Bubba have to ask
one of the actively posting members to bring in his friend Bubba? 
Probably not a problem, but it seems like a layer of needless hassle.

>     4) Make membership uncontrolled.

I think we'd attract some number of zealots who would then subsequently be
dismembered from the list (too bad the context for that word was incorrect)
after their evangelizing.  Not good, not bad, but a hassle.

>     5) Something else?
> Note:  None of this means that the list will become a flame-fest or a
> counter part to the r.g.m.* newsgroups.  I would continue to actively
> moderate the list.  Only the publicity and subscription methods of the
> list would change.
> Do realise however that taking the list public opens it to the Reese
> idiot intolerace flames, Katrina's dunno-how-C++-works prattles,
> Addledbrain III's LP-is-da-deity pieties, DikuHeads R00L chants etc of
> the world, etc and that any moderation I do will be after the fact.
> As such it will potentially open us to hit-and-run attacks.  I don't
> think this is a huge danger, but it is present and should be
> acknowledged.

I would choose to make the archives public (still wrangling with the
visible email address issue), and echo postings to a newsgroup in
some fashion.  Membership should stay as it is now.

Shawn Halpenny

"Turn once for maximum vend."
                                            - Me

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