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

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Thu Jul 17 19:13:58 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Tue 15 Jul, clawrenc at cup.hp.com wrote:

I don't know if this message made it to the list the first time so
I'm resending it. I appologise if I'm actually sending it twice.

> 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.

For me that's not that big of a problem, but there may be others on this
maillist that would feel otherwise. Posting to a newsgroup has the same
Creating archives is a lot of work but making them accessible would be
a good idea. Not because I feel that the average reader of r.g.m.* is
that interested in them but because it might attract somebody who -is-

> 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?

If time is a concern I wouldn't recommend creating a moderated newsgroup.
You would have to read all posts to be able to approve them and handle the
normal email traffic as well (like people demanding to know why their post
hasn't shown up on the list).

> 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)

No! One of the most interesting characteristics of this list is the
variety of subjects. I try to read and understand everything that is
said even if it is highly technical. Should you split the list then
there is a fair chance that I would drop out of the most technical
discussions altogether. From the perspective of others that might
not be a great loss, I certainly don't understand enough of it to
make a sensible contribution to those discussions, but for me it
would be.

> 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!)

Do you want the list publicised or do you want new members? The latter
can more easily be achieved by starting a development oriented discussion
on the newsgroup and see who responds to that. If a reaction makes sense
and is contributing rather than flaming in nature you can invite the
writer of that post.

> 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 don't think it will work very well anyway. People who want to be
member of this list aren't necessarily people you want as a member.
I'm not trying to sound elitist here but I too have read the discussions
on r.g.m.* Almost everybody who participated in those discussions in a
open and meaningfull manner I've seen writing on this list too. There's
also quite a few who can't seem to open up to different opinions and
feel the need to flame/write derogatory about others.

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

I think this is the current method yes? It seems to work right. The
problem seems to be not the system but spotting people who might be
a contribution to this list.

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

Sounds a bit too elitist to me, but perhaps this would in practice
work better than the current system.

>     4) Make membership uncontrolled.

In that case we'll eventually end up with a newsgroup style list. Not
at first perhaps but unless you, or somebody else, put an inordinate
amount of time in moderating the number of pointless contributions and
flames will sooner or later become the majority of postings.
Consider e.g. the 'flame treshold murpe' campaign that some people have
launched on the newsgroup. Without active moderation you can't keep that
away from an open mailinglist if somebody decides to expand their acti-
vities to it.

>     5) Something else?

I would recommend requiring a little more active cooperation from the
members of this list. If you start a subject you also become responsible
for it. This means that you have to provide a summary of the discussion
on the archive site (should there be one). Summaries are more easily
accessible and can be used to cut out debates that have been held on
the list before. Or if somebody thinks of a new angle for an old sub-
ject she can refer to the summary.
Of course behind the summaries there should be the original posts avail-
able as well so if there is doubt about the conclusions in the summary
there is still access to the literal text.

Rather than posting the mailinglist to a newsgroup at large make the
summary and perhaps also the archives publicly available on a website
and occasionally advertise that site. If there's enough interest and
the whole thing doesn't grow too big I'll offer space on my own site,
which already has information about (roleplaying) game design. People
interested in participating will be able to contact any of us. Those
who are merely browsing likely won't bother.

> 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.  

The more open the list becomes the harder it will be to moderate it, up
to the point you will have to approve posts -before- they reach the list.

> 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'm not that concerned about the incidental flames but about the general
noise level. Membership to any mailinglist should be restricted to people
who either contribute meaningfully and open to others. Or who keep their
mouth shut when they haven't anything to say. I try to do both and see
that everybody else on this list does too. I've also seen that many people
on the newsgroup do not. I rather keep them away from this list if that is
Well, this is my opinion on this matter, worded as good as I can. I don't
want to turn this into a discussion so I won't likely react to the thread
unless to rephrase where this post has been unclear.

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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