Friday, December 16, 2005

Met Jen

Finally, I met up with Jen Lewis in real life. She needs no introduction here, being moderator of Vascokars United. We were yesterday at the Xavier Centre of Historical Research's continued discussions on Konkani and the script issue.

Couldn't help wondering who was that young lady who kept nodding in agreement with some of the points being made, and clicking photographs of some debating the issue. She did look NRIish.

Jen is doing a great job, IMHO. If we had a hundred Jen Lewises, then Goa would surely not be an information-poor state, and informal communications (via cyberspace, specially) would have been very rich.

Of course, Jen was a bit dispondent that so few people post to Vascokars United [1]. Maybe I can contribute one post here. But, beyond that, I'd like to say that every mailing-list goes through a kind of initial enthusiasm-plateauing-stagnation phase. If you can outlast that, then success is assured.

Please see this excellent article posted below, which I've read a large number of times, whenever I've felt despondent. [2]

On Goanet, we reached a point where we would get two new members and lose three old ones! It was at that point that we started Goanet-News (earlier called Goanews). We found that some subscribers can't cope with high volumes of mail, but would nevertheless like to be kept in touch.

On Goajourno, a restricted-to-journos list, I was the only fool posting for maybe a couple of years or more, till a controversy (related to a journalists' union election) helped to build interest in the list. Many started posting, and also insisted that they be added to the list!

Of course, you need to keep making regular posts to the lists. You also need at least 2-3 committed persons posting regularly. It helps if lists are moderated once they cross a certain size (maybe a 100 or so, it depends on the nature of the membership). Try to rope in some journalist who would commit to post regularly whatever he writes, specially if it's on-topic.

Okay Jen, here's wishing you all the best for what you do for Vasco, from distant Birmingham! FN

--------- [1]

[2] Originally Posted to Gleason Sackman's Net-Happenings

Date: Wed, 5 Apr 1995 07:07:16 -0600 From: Mike Gurstein <> To: Multiple recipients of list <> Subject: Fwd: Life cycle of Lists (fwd) --------------------- Forwarded message: From: (Michael Forster) To: Date: 95-03-31 07:57:23 EST

This seemed like a good time to post this item from the Humor List. Michael Forster


Every list seems to go through the same cycle:

1. Initial enthusiasm (people introduce themselves, and gush a lot about how wonderful it is to find kindred souls).

2. Evangelism (people moan about how few folks are posting to the list, and brainstorm recruitment strategies).

3. Growth (more and more people join, more and more lengthy threads develop, occasional off-topic threads pop up)

4. Community (lots of threads, some more relevant than others; lots of information and advice is exchanged; experts help other experts as well as less experienced colleagues; friendships develop; people tease each other; newcomers are welcomed with generosity and patience; everyone---newbie and expert alike---feels comfortable asking questions, suggesting answers, and sharing opinions)

5. Discomfort with diversity (the number of messages increases dramatically; not every thread is fascinating to every reader; people start complaining about the signal-to-noise ratio; person 1 threatens to quit if *other* people don't limit discussion to person 1's pet topic; person 2 agrees with person 1; person 3 tells 1 & 2 to lighten up; more bandwidth is wasted complaining about off-topic threads than is used for the threads themselves; everyone gets annoyed)

6a. Smug complacency and stagnation (the purists flame everyone who asks an 'old' question or responds with humor to a serious post; newbies are rebuffed; traffic drops to a doze-producing level of a few minor issues; all interesting discussions happen by private email and are limited to a few participants; the purists spend lots of time self-righteously congratulating each other on keeping off-topic threads off the list)


6b. Maturity (a few people quit in a huff; the rest of the participants stay near stage 4, with stage 5 popping up briefly every few weeks; many people wear out their second or third 'delete' key, but the list lives contentedly ever after)


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