[MUD-Dev] Re: META: list "peerage"

Travis Casey efindel at io.com
Sun Jan 24 21:25:02 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On Wed, 20 Jan 1999, Koster, Raph wrote:

> More frightening: how many list members never post, because they feel that
> they cannot compose a mail such as that? It also gets as the issue of what
> the nature of the list is. If the list is a research institution (which it
> is currently heavily biased towards) then that is fine. You want the
> contributors to be those who actively advance or elucidate the state of the
> art every time they open their mouth. The danger is that said state of the
> art never materializes because we're all too busy talking about it to
> actually make it happen.

Isn't that what creating the parallel dev-mud is about, though?  Making a
new mud codebase that will incoporate some of the ideas that we've bandied
about here, and making it available to people?

Personally, I haven't found that talking about things prevents me from
doing them -- rather, I find that RL keeps me from doing them.

> On the other hand, much of the charm of the list is that it isn't a teaching
> institution. I daresay many of the posters would be chased away by countless
> inquiries on how to add ANSI color to their mud. (Then again, I bet that a
> good thread could probably be generated from, "coolest way to add ANSI color
> to a mud, with the most elegant implementation, and the slickest
> interface-wise and usability-wise". Is it possible we're too snooty a
> research institution to delve into that just because we see ANSI color as a
> topic beneath us?)

I don't see any topic as "beneath me."  I do see some topics as
essentially useless, though -- every time anyone starts talking about PK,
I read the first couple of days of posts and then tune it out, since once
people have stated their positions on it, the rest simply goes nowhere.

> > >We can still encourage others to join up,
> > >but it's intimidating as hell when you first get here. I felt very much
> out
> > >of my depth. (Still do, a lot of the time.)
> If it is any consolation, I have repeatedly heard from "peerage" people that
> they feel the same way. I feel that way regularly (the database discussion
> went miles over my head in many places). Then again, here's a separate
> dilemma: the peerage right now also seems to be the most active posters. I'd
> count YOU as one of said peers, in fact. So even this discussion about how
> the peerage dominates the list via intimidation & posting volume is
> happening only among the peerage. Maybe the rest of the list doesn't think
> it's a problem at all. Lurkers, what do you think?

Well, I don't know where you'd count me.  I think the list members who
know me respect me, but I'm pretty much inactive on the list these days,
so our new read-only people probably have no idea who the heck I am.

In any case, though, I don't see a problem.  The list often becomes more
technical than I want to be -- I have no desire to implement a mud from
the ground up, so I usually just ignore technical threads.  It's possible
that some of the lurkers don't post because the list isn't covering the
things they want to talk about right now, and they aren't starting threads
about those things, for whatever reasons.

I'll note that the same problem is encountered in Usenet as well -- how
often have you seen a post on Usenet where someone complains, "Why isn't
anyone talking about X?"  The usual answer is, "Why don't you start a
discussion on X?"

It's possible that some of our "readers" are having the same experience,
but since they *can't* start a discussion, they just leave or decide that
the list isn't really for them.

> One problem about reading the archives is that they seem to be a) infallible
> b) totally comprehensive and c) easily traced back to the peerage. How many
> times have we seen threads die with a "The answer to is in the archives at
> this link: http://...."? Now, this is an illusion, because the archives are
> not any of those things except (c), usually. Plenty of topics could easily
> be taken in new directions, if the stone tablets of the archives weren't
> presented as a definitive answer quite so readily.

I've never thought of them as "an answer" -- more of as, "we've already
talked about that.  Check what we said before, and if you have something
new to say, get back to us."  I will say, though, that sometimes people's
references to the archive seem to be more along the lines of "just read
the archives and don't talk about it," which is unfortunate.  I doubt that
that's intended, but it's the impression that tends to be given when
someone just refers to the archives and doesn't explain that the first
interpretation is what's meant.

       |\      _,,,---,,_        Travis S. Casey  <efindel at io.com>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
      |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-'
     '---''(_/--'  `-'\_)

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