>What proportion of lists are moderated?
Judging from the types of postings that go on in this digest, I would have
to say very, very few.
I moderate the Talon/Eclipse/Laser digest (these are cars). Let me share
my experience with moderating a digest.
Shortly after purchasing one of the first vechicles of this type, I wanted
to jump onto a mailing list discussing them. There wasn't one, so I created
I started out by making an alias entry for each person on the list who signed up. I would then personally mail out each message that came in (this was in
1990). Adds/changes/deletes were all handled by me personally. This went
pretty smoothly until the load got so high my UUCP feed couldn't handle
multiple messages anymore. I went to a daily digest format.
One thing I noticed when I went to the daily digest was that the signal/noise
ratio increased dramatically. People couldn't simply fire off message after
message when they replied. Also, more people got involved in the discussion
because the topic wasn't talked to death between two people firing off replies
right away. They also tended to reply to several topics in one message,
making it easier to read the digest (and taking up less space).
I ran the digest fully moderated that way until recently. I got majordomo
running and have a 56k line to the net. Several people had requested a
"live" feed, so I allowed it since I could now handle it. However, I think
this has decreased the quality of the digest, since people on the live feed
tend to reply to each individual message, and reply right away. Conversations
can be followed across the digest, and it is clear which writers are on the
live feed and which just get the digest. I have been tempted to dump the
live feed, but quite a lot of people like it, so I guess it stays. I don't
touch the content of the live feed, but I closely watch the digest. They
both end up with the same postings, except what I clip from the digest.
Anyway, let me get to why I think a lot of list managers here do not moderate
digests. Here are a few of my pet peeves that often cause me to write private
email to the people on my TEL list who violate them. All three are way too
common on this list.
1) Subject lines that always say, "Re: blah-blah-digest, V#, #(today's # - 1)
- If your reply is worth a damn, give it a decent subject
2) Too much included text
- Unless you are responding directly to personal views, is it
really necessary to say, "On Wed, 22 Feb 1995, Todd Day wrote:"
- Is it really necessary to include full paragraphs of previous
text when just one included sentence will do?
- Why include text at all? Why not take the time to write your
own summary sentence, like "Regarding previous bitching about
3) Useless signatures.
- I've seen that cute quote before... who cares?
- Just sign your name, dammit, unless you want to add an email
address that is more stable than the one in your From: line
or add a phone number if you've asked someone to call you in
- You are just bulking up the archives and making text searches
fail when someone tries to search through them.
- If the address in the From: line is proper, why include your
address again at the bottom of your letter?
When I moderate, I edit out anything I wouldn't want to be reading
myself. Therefore, I aggressively take out #2 and #3. Too hard to
do anything about #1. I personally email the worst offenders. If
someone's signature is particularly amusing and somewhat related to
the topic of the digest, I'll let it pass, but only once.
I thought List-Managers was strictly a digest, but it has the hallmark
of a live feed - too much included text! While included text is necessary
in a live feed to follow the conversation better, it is almost completely
unnecessary in a digest. I dread wading through this digest, but I'll
keep getting it because it does contain some nuggets.
Another hallmark of a live feed is beating a dead horse. Perhaps
there was some therapy in venting, but don't you think that after
the first couple posts about AOL, the rest were just "piling on"?
Also, I think we've established what most list managers think about
advertising on their lists... perhaps we can keep the number of
List-Manager digests down to one a day now?
Anyone else heavily moderate a digest, or am I just a nut? :-)
P.S. There are a couple firms that do advertising on my list, but it
consists mostly of price sheets - really no different than a lot of
non-affialiated people end up posting for info only. These firms also
happen to be some of the best contributors to the daily discussion on
the list, proving that it is possible to allow advertising as long as
the poster really participates in the dialogue. And one of the firms
gives a 5% discount to list members!
P.P.S. I probably have just violated a few of my own pet peeves! :-O