>>Perhaps one could even go so far as to say that it
would seem that >>dicussion groups have their own style of entropy
to deal with.
After 15 years of participating on some lists, what I find is not so much entropy (winding down) as a cyclical approach. Each list almost always as an energetic start, followed by a period of good exchanges, and then an almost inevitable spat of some kind or spate of postings from newbies that tends to de-rail the discussion.
Anybody else notice how we've come full circle. Started this list with an avalanche of intros and now we're doing it again.
I have noticed, however, that subjects arise, peak, and then dissappear only to reemerge in almost the same form a year later. From a my point of view this is quite convenient.
Hypothesis: Lists that feel like they function well are those that emulate familiar 'real life' communication modes. A net seminar that works like a 'real' seminar; a net announcement that looks like an announcement on a physical bulletin board; a friendly net discussion that mirrors that such friends would say FTF...
A group of regular posters tend to dominate the multilogue. They have developed relationships which each other and often their messages speak the language of that relationship, a language inaccessible to me as newbie and lurker. The members argue and bicker with each other over issues great and small. The discussion wanders off topic into eddies of personal opinion on a wide variety of issues.
The lists that seem to work best are the ones that allow the occasional "fuck you". Followed by, "yeah, well fuck you too." And finally, "fine, now let's go have a beer."
I have found across the years that most lists have a group of frequent posters (FPs). These range usually from opinion influencers -- people that I/we listen to when they speak -- idea generators, to commenters (people who offer their similar or counter views) as follow up, to those who I would describe as folks saying "look at me," people interested in being stars or of controlling the list, and of course the experimenters who launch grenades to see what happens.
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