[Air-l] A list that better fulfills an internet research mission.

Tom Diffenbach diffenbach at comcast.net
Fri Mar 8 09:58:18 PST 2002


I'm Tom Diffenbach, a political consultant specializing in dynamics of
action, not an academic, and also a person who has owned, operated, used,
and studied websites and lists for years.  I value aoir for its resources
and also as a case study of sorts.

At times I observe recognizable behaviors in this list and wait to see if
anyone mentions them.  One recent example was the discussion of some
not-so-important subject (I already forget:) during the holidays.  This fits
a pattern of lists cycling thru a period where everyone, including those who
at the moment perhaps don't have anything to contribute academically or
professionally, get to share a comment or two.  It helps to rejuvenate a
list but also contributes at least temporarily to reducing the quality of
its content.

Currently the "rules or no rules" discussion so common to lists is on our
front burner.  I recall one medical-legal list where a "no rules" attorney
insisted on posting occasional crude humor arguing that it was welcomed (or
at least not objected to) by many.  Soon after, he created a somewhat
competing list where he was very much the rule-maker and disqualified his
humorous type of posts from his list to maintain its professionalism.

That might suggest to you what this political consultant see as a prospect
that aoir should consider: that serious professionals on this list, openly
or quietly, will find or start a similar list.  The issue isn't so much
whether there should be rules but whether an internet researcher can find a
list that better fulfills an internet research mission.

With respect, Tom





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