My sense is that the oscillations can be understood as the inevitable consequence of a group dynamic that does not contain the ability to subgroup

Since the person joining the list is crossing a boundary (lurker->poster) in doing so some attention couldbe paid to the experience of crossing the boundary and thereby continuously reinforce the context of the list space as distinct from not-list space. The work of the person would be to identify themselves and to join the list at the level of a specific subgroup (thread) rather than a reply to a person. This would effect a shift in role away from the person to the member. The shift in role and the identification with a subgroup would most likely continue to reinforce the boundary around the work of that particular subgroup and thereby reduce the disturbance of a new members' joining.
The technique of subgrouping is one of resonant communication from one member to another with the goal of joining with and deepening the exploration of their experience in the here and now. There is no real need for f2f contact in order to effect subgrouping. It is the absence of this type of interaction that leads to the oscillating dynamic present in listserv dialogue and cyber group dynamics in general IMHO.
My general question is, how could an online group like this one diversify and specialize while still maintaining a sense of unity and integrity?
The women and men ooze from one affinity group to another as the subject changes and the resonating groupings are affected by both the social experience of the poster's gender and the biological imperatives that lay just beneath.
Individual identities are voluntarily subsumed in the group identity for limited periods determined by the individual. A sub-group's identity is likewise subsumed in the larger group voluntarily depending upon the extent of overlay of mutual purposes and processes.
But there's content there and I expect he's forming a subgroup in what appears to still be a bid for power phase here.

this seems contrived to me, at least for a mailing list like this. I've thought that one of the things to consider an advantage is the fact that anyone can respond to anyone else on anything that attracts their interest. . . .To be sure I'm hoping that at some point some specific task-oriented groups might take shape but I'd be loath to try to set it up or partition it off such that people "confined themselves to focused replies to their subgroup members..."
Your expression of unwillingness is often a voice for a significant subgroup in all early developing groups, that of the members who are taking a 'wait and see' attitude.
I think we've been looking for subgroups with a magnifying glass. We are all, the eighteen of us who post with some regularity, members of a single subgroup, the talkers. The lurkers must divide into their own subgroups, perhaps lurkers who read everything, lurkers on digest, lurkers who delete most of their stuff undread. Maybe in an electronic medium, subgroups are as subgroups do.
Subgroups will form and close themselves off, based on some shared identity or purpose. That's sad if you miss the broader experience the net offers, good if you have some serious work to get done.. . . A cult at one extreme, an anarchy at the other.
You wait until you feel that you can join the subgroup with a feeling that is at least at the same level or slightly deeper. The experience you have is what you share, without all the trappings of well worn rationalizations or the like. This way you are sharing what is fresh and immediate for you and are responding to similar expressions from the members of your subgroup who are all working toward deepening their own and the subgroup's experience in the here and now.
We seem to have plenty of sub-grouping here. What we're lacking is a _commitment_ to any particular _strategic_ grouping. Are we a group? Yes. Are we a team? No. Why? Because we haven't committed ourselves to a division of effort and direction that would enable us to provide a product that would be attributable to the group (team).
Subgroups seem to bubble up out of the soup, last for a while, then disappear.
I'm in the subgroup of feeling irritated and alienated
Communicating across subgroup boundaries serves to dilute the subgroup development and hence the group's capacity to contain energy and focus it on growing up.
What if I want to talk to someone that is not in my subgroup? Am I forbidded?
As an Excessively Trained Mental Health Professional (tm) I'll allow that in structured therapeutic or instructional settings, it's common practice to divide up into groups, speak to absent people as though they were there, role-play, emote on cue, "interpret" the behavior of others, and many other such oddities. Kidding aside, these have great value in certain well-defined situations. To use them at a party would be silly -
I decided a long time ago not to take any of Marvin's subgroup posts seriously. I read them. Then I delete them, which is what I do to everybody's posts unless I find something really spectacular
So you've finally found a subgroup we both belong in? So what should we call it? The narcissitically wounded subgroup? The I won't play unless you play by my rules subgroup? The victims of scolding and and other forms of persecution subgroup?
Return to Index