Well I don't know about the rest of you, but the very topic of how this
group functions is terribly interesting to me. Implicit in the ebb and
flow of information are all the mysteries of how an organization, allbeit
a loose one, functions.
I sense a few trends present in this list over the few months I have
participated in it and I am specifically interested in feedback and
comments on these and similar trends.
1. Threads are followed regardless of the side issues they uncover. This
may strike some readers as indicative of a "academic" mindset within the
group while others might view it as justifiable focus.
2. Side issues produce interesting comments but no follow through. The
most provocotive comments I read are the tiny excursions caused by
reactive interpretations of side issues. However, although they are the
largest source of informative comment that I receive, they have the
shortest life span.
3. Many people have a reply cycle (the time it takes to respond to a
particular thread) that exceeds the real time discussion taking place
between the rest of the participants. This cycle overlap may result in
those who respond more quickly thinking that there is an entrenched
resistance to their ideas.. This reinforcing loop produces some
3. Many of the central questions poised by responders are completely
disregarded by the group. I wonder how people actually read their mail,
i.e., the exact way they scan and sort and decode the messages. Are
people looking for information or are they looking for reflections of
their own contributions? Either way, there is nothing right or wrong
about their motivation, it simply changes the way we interact when we
recognize the reasons people write.
4. A handful of contributors outline their objective for writing but most
leave it up to the reader to discern. For example, I put a specific
question in the opening paragraph of this post where it stands the
greatest chance of being seen. I do not usually do that but I'm curious
how the structure of the message relates to the overall impression and so
I'm experimenting. It is clear to me that electronic mail has a very
unique flavor that is still in the formative process and despite the
recent spate of "how to" manuals for effective email, (or is it E-Mail?)
there is still a lot of progress to be made.
5. Writers in this forum almost always use complete sentences, more than
one paragraph, and make one central point per message. The writing here
resembles formal letters more than informal notes. This is in contrast to
much of the traffic I receive via email which is most often curt, jumbled,
and unreadable. In fact, I have been castigated more than once for my
lengthy messages by people who practice email shorthand. Actually,
castigated is probably the wrong word because I consider it a courtesy
when people tell me how to best communicate with them - a point which may
be missing from many of our postings.
-- Lon Badgett firstname.lastname@example.org "Sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing, balance, and wonder make seven senses." Emil Gobersneke
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <email@example.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>