Date: Thu, 24 Oct 1996 06:38:28 -0500

From: Natalie Maynor maynor[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]RA.MSSTATE.EDU

Subject: Re: Archiving Question

I wonder if you (or someone) could (very briefly) give some reasons for the "no" response. As

someone who uses search engines a lot, my reaction would have been "yes". There must be some

disadvantages that I am not aware of. Is it going to cost us anything? Since the archives are

already "open" in the sense that anyone on the web can look into them, wouldn't it be helpful to

have them searchable?

When Bill Krestzschmar and I, standing at some kind of SAMLA reception

five years ago, conceived the idea for ADS-L, we discussed the potential

problems involved in starting such a list. The main problem we saw was

that (at least back then) it was quite common for a list with serious

purposes to be taken over by babblers and turned into something quite

different from what it started out to be. I think I even mentioned

Words-L, which happens to be my favorite list on the net but which is

100% recreational. As much as I love Words-L, a list that was started

as a discussion of the English language but evolved into a discussion of

anything anybody wants to discuss, I don't see any point in having two

such lists in my life. I like having Words-L for discussing recipes

and animals and politics and blue M&Ms and having ADS-L for discussing

dialectology and sociolinguistics. Bill and I talked briefly about

the measures that can be taken to prevent a list from changing in such

a way. One obvious one, of course, is to make it a moderated list. I

told Bill that night (and I haven't changed my mind) that that would be

fine if somebody else is willing to be listowner but that I personally

hate moderated lists and would never be listowner of one. (I don't

like getting spurts of old mail in clumps. I think one of the beauties

of e-mail is the immediacy of it, which is taken away when somebody

holds the mail for several days before distributing it.) Another measure

that might cut down on list-crashers is making it a closed list in that

new subscribers send the subscription request to the listowner and are

manually added. That, of course, doesn't really rule out list-hoppers.

It could if membership in ADS were a requirement -- something else I

think Bill and I talked about five years ago. But there are several

problems with that, including the problem faced by any list that requires

listowner intervention for subscription -- if the listowner is away from

the computer, the request sits and waits. And when the listowner logs

on, there are more list-related tasks to take care of (which is not really

a big deal with me most of the time but can be a problem when I'm

traveling -- e.g., I spent $200 on online time while traveling last

July, much of that for time spent dealing with things like errors messages

for subscribers).

This is getting too long for the brief answer you asked for, and I just

looked at the clock and see that I'm already past my turn-off-the-computer

and-get-ready-for-the-day deadline. More later, if anybody wants more.

--Natalie (maynor[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]