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    Life cycle of a List
    From: Dan Hogan
    Date: 2000 Oct 09, 10:33 AM

    The natural life cycle of mailing lists.
    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
    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
    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).
    a. 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).
    b. 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
    This text was pulled from the archives of the list-managers
    discussion list and reproduced in full here (the author is
    Dan Hogan WA6PBY
    List Owner
    C-27 "Gacha"

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