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

Steve Jones sjones at uic.edu
Fri Mar 8 10:40:22 PST 2002

At 12:58 PM -0500 3/8/02, Tom Diffenbach wrote:
>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.

To which I can only say - I would subscribe.

AoIR got its start as an e-mail list, and may well meet its end as 
one. I hope that's not the case. But it's up to the people on the 
list to do as they do and say as they say. I don't think I would be 
happy about AoIR trying to structure interaction on air-l in such a 
way that it perpetuates itself as an organization. What you describe, 
Tom, is a very possible scenario, and always will be. What we have 
been trying to do with AoIR is create more than air-l (which, as a 
reminder, is open to _anyone_, whether they are a dues-paying AoIR 
member or not), via the Web site, conference and additional means 
(see http://aoir.org/faq.html and other pages on the site for more 
details). For many people air-l may be the only contact with AoIR, 
which is fine. I suspect that many are also subscribed to other 
Internet research-oriented lists. What the executive committee has 
discussed is trying to find a way to poll members to learn more about 
what they'd like to see. However, that's a research project unto 
itself. We're an all-volunteer organization, and could certainly use 
more volunteers, and we are in the process of creating some 
additional working groups and the like, in hopes that we will get 
additional help.

As a final thought, I'm not sure that air-l has "an Internet research 
mission" as such. Much like the kinds of discussions that go on in 
the hallways at trade shows and conferences and the U.S. Congress, 
I've found air-l to be a conversation that people sometimes drop in 
on and sometimes tune out. I reckon in some very, very broad way all 
the messages (spam excepted when that does turn up, of course, but 
even that could be construed as...) are somehow related to Internet 
research. Even the messages about the list, these sort of 
meta-threads, could be seen that way, and they're an interesting 
phenomenon themselves!


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