"I can’t go to bed because Mairin is right on the internet
and so I want to (1) say she’s awesome and (2) add two cents
on mailing lists and using the power of a web interface to make
them better. Bear with me; maybe this is completely off-base
(probably I should just stick to law), but it has been bouncing
around in my head for years and maybe me writing it down will help
the lightbulb go off for someone who can actually implement it
"Here is the thing: I think mailing lists are almost like
parties in a lot of ways, and so we can steal ideas from parties to
help write better mailing list software. I know this sounds silly,
but bear with me.
"First, the similarities. At most parties, like most mailing
lists, most people want to have interesting conversations, and they
understand the shared social standards and interests of the other
people at the party. And at most parties and most mailing lists
there are a handful of people are boors who probably don’t
want to spoil the party, but who violate those shared norms- some
in very mild ways (boring, talking too loud, posting too much), or
maybe some less mild (the guy who doesn’t think he’s a
racist, but really is.)1 If you’ve got similar mixes of
people, why then do parties usually handle boors well, while
mailing lists often fail and flame out?"
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