Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(November 2001)

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Subject: Re: "I know this is off-topic, but...."
From: JC Dill <inet-list @ vo . cnchost . com>
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2001 20:28:48 -0800
To: <list-managers @ greatcircle . com>
In-reply-to: <>

On 10:10 AM 11/27/2001 -0800, Chuq Von Rospach wrote:

 >What do people think about this stuff? How do you manage it? Are you seeing
 >the same trend I am, with people doing this more often? It seems to me
 >there's some aspect of laziness here ("rather than find the right place,
 >I'll ask the close place") but combined with the "know these guys are
 >clueful" aspect, so there's a mixed message here. Definitely hard to decide
 >where to draw the lines in the sand, so I thought I"d throw it out and see
 >what others are thinking.

I'm on a lot of different horse topic discussion lists, including old and 
established mailing lists, newer mailing lists, and a newsgroup.  One of 
the lists is eventers-l, an old and well established discussion list on the 
fairly narrow topic of things pertaining to horses that compete in Combined 
Training aka Eventing (see <> for more 
information about this sport).

At some point the list manager started publicly (posting "to the list") 
"slapping" people with a dead fish for off-topic posts.  As a result, 
people are a lot more careful to keep their posts on-topic, and when 
veering off-topic (but not actually *going* off-topic, people are very 
careful to have some sort of ObEventers in their post) they request their 
favorite fish.  It's been AGES since the list received any actual off-topic 
posts.  I'm not quite sure how this all came about, but it's been VERY 
successful in keeping this list totally on-topic, even in these 
"interesting times" when people seem unable to stick to on-topic posts on 
all the other lists (especially the Yahoo! Groups lists).

I wonder if part of the reason this is so successful on Eventers-L is 
because the sport itself isn't for wimps.  You have to be a certain type of 
person to want to do all 3 phases of Eventing, and if you have the drive 
and focus to Event, you probably care more (than, say, the average AOLer or 
WebTVer) about having a list that stays on-topic.  I'm managing a list on 
Natural Horsemanship, and I haven't been as successful at getting people to 
*want* to stay on-topic on this list as they *want* to stay on-topic on the 
Eventers list.  Perhaps I need to haul out the fish.  :-)

jc  (if this were off-topic, I'd ask for salmon, please, with hollandaise)

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