Re: list sniping opinions

From: Chris Capel (
Date: Fri Aug 25 2006 - 13:47:20 MDT

On 8/25/06, Damien Broderick <> wrote:
> At 12:12 AM 8/26/2006 +1000, "kevin.osborne" wrote:
> >Posts with insightful expert comment, links and excerpts, elucidating
> >examples; so the interested can get a taste of the subject matter
> >-.enough to whet the appetite without having to read three rows off
> >the bookshelf.
> Sorry, wrong venue for that. Nobody has time for hand-holding, and
> trying to learn difficult knowledge from postcards is futile anyway.
> Read the damn books, that's why they were written.

There are certainly plenty of things that can only sensibly be
required to be background knowledge if productive discussion is to be
possible. The problems only start when most of the participants have
knowledge backgrounds that, at the higher levels, don't overlap. In
fact, that might be the biggest problem with this list. The kind of
discussions that are relevant, to be done properly, would take much
more knowledge than any single list member (perhaps save two or three,
I really don't know) has. Usually this kind of discussion is taken
place using the requisite number of words and effort. It seems there
aren't any participants, or enough participants, available to put in
the requisite effort. (And I think the effort would be very
significant--on the order of six to ten hours a week for someone
actively defending an idea.) And in the meantime, things get too
easily sidetracked by low-quality ideas and miscomprehension of
high-quality ones.

In other words, I think the level of discussion aspired to by the
zeitgeist here can't be achieved without much higher time investments
by at least several of the most intelligent couple dozen people.

My vote on the list sniping level? Mu. I think the best option is to
have ten lists (or better, blogs,) with different moderators who
moderate to level 10, to their own tastes, and people collectively
pick which list to participate in. Forking in open source projects is
bad, and bad in communities whose goal is some sort of collective
action. Forking is very good in communities whose goal is productive
discussion, for a wide variety of subtle reasons.

Chris Capel

"What is it like to be a bat? What is it like to bat a bee? What is it
like to be a bee being batted? What is it like to be a batted bee?"
-- The Mind's I (Hofstadter, Dennet)

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