[OT] Mailing Lists: Good for argument, bad for discussion

Dave Smith dave at thesmithfam.org
Sun Jun 29 19:30:16 MDT 2008


Von Fugal wrote:
> This doesn't have to preclude the original
> discussion about $BEHAVIOUR running its course.

I agree that it doesn't *have* to preclude the original discussion, but 
in many (most?) cases, it does. Consider the political thread that we 
had going here for the last couple weeks. It went from gas prices to 
spending habits to real estate and finally to politics. Once the thread 
transitioned to each new topic, the prior topics were largely abandoned 
(not totally, but mostly).

It seems that once a new topic gains momentum, people generally don't 
rekindle old topics unless they feel *really* inclined. And then, for 
the original topic to survive, it seems that a new email thread is 
necessary.

On that note, I thought it'd be really cool to create a program that 
plots a directed graph of email comments with edges connecting responses 
to those comments, and those comments of course having edges that 
connect them to their respective responses, and so on. It'd make for a 
cool social science study and a really nifty visualization. Lots of 
tough parsing though. :)

--Dave



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