I’ve got a very different view from everyone else on these questions I think!
My view: too many mailing lists, not enough time. *Especially* not enough time. Probably most people don’t have a job where they have to subscribe to 16+ mailing lists just to keep up, but everyone has a job that should be being done by three people. If you’re constantly rushing to hit half a dozen deadlines then you just don’t have time for a leisurely discussion on a mailing list. That means you only post when you need to – which might be an announcement, or might be a question. But you don’t post often when you merely have an answer, and even less often when someone else has already posted an answer which may be incomplete but it’ll do.
There are exceptions to this. The Ex Libris community mailing lists (at least Alma, Primo and Leganto) are absolutely thriving. People post questions, people post answers, people bat ideas back and forth, people plot collective action to make the company actually fix the damn bug. People use it, so it’s useful, so people use it.
The EZproxy list is similar. (A bit less discussion but very good for targeted problem-solving.) The DSpace lists used to be similar up to even just a few years ago but I feel like they might be in a cycle of declining use -> declining usefulness -> declining use. Up to a certain point that’s reversible. We’ll see…
Basically, where a list makes people’s jobs *immediately and tangibly* easier, it’ll continue to be used and useful. But capitalism and downsizing and doing-more-with-less is poisoning everything. It forces people to focus on immediate problems-at-hand and short-term benefits, leaving no time for more leisurely/philosophical discussions that may have deeper, longer term benefits. In theory we should resist that. In practice we don’t have time to.
From: Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Tim Spalding
Sent: Saturday, 15 January 2022 11:43 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] code4lib mailing list over the years
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"Mailing lists aren't what they used to be. Of the mailing lists in which I
subscribe, zero discussion happens. There are really only announcements. I
suppose the Code4Lib mailing list is no different."
At the risk of starting a discussion where nobody discusses:
1. Why are mailing lists dead for discussion?
2. Has discussion of the topics here moved elsewhere? If so, where and why?
3. Is any of this about Code4Lib specifically, about libraries
specifically, about coding and tech specifically… or is this just a symptom
of larger phenomena? What phenomena?
On Fri, Jan 14, 2022 at 3:03 PM Lolis, John <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
> Yowzuh! That's not only quite an opus, but also a thing of beauty you've
> wrought. Quite interesting, too. I doff my virtual hat to you.
> John Lolis
> Coordinator of Computer Systems
> 100 Martine Avenue
> White Plains, NY 10601
> tel: 1.914.422.1497
> fax: 1.914.422.1452
> *Some may say that perception is everything, but not from where I stand.*
> On Fri, 14 Jan 2022 at 14:30, Eric Lease Morgan <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
> > I have done a bit of compare & contrast when it comes to the Code4Lib
> > mailing list. And I can demonstrate how discussions about specific
> > computing issues in libraries have declined, and job postings have
> > increased.
> > In 2011, there were approximately 3,000 postings to the list for a total
> > of .98 million words. By comparison, in 2021 there were 1700 postings
> and a
> > total of .5 million words. To put it another way, the mailing list's
> > has decreased by about half.
> > I calculated quite a number of frequencies based on a wide variety of
> > features (ngrams, parts-of-speech, named entities, etc.). In 2011 the
> > of people dominated the entities, but in 2022 the names of organizations
> > dominated. When I did topic modeling against 2011, themes included:
> > "conference", "library", and "data". On the other hand, themes from 2022
> > included: "library", "experience", and "digital".
> > Probably the most telling model was the word collocations. While the
> > attached images may be too small to appreciate all the nuances, the 2011
> > graph includes the names of many individual people and computing issues
> > like "data", "MARC", and "RDF". The 2021 graph has a much larger emphasis
> > on "experience", and there is a set of related words regarding race &
> > gender, which come from the boiler plate paragraphs of job postings.
> > Mailing lists aren't what they used to be. Of the mailing lists in which
> > subscribe, zero discussion happens. There are really only announcements.
> > suppose the Code4Lib mailing list is no different.
> > That said, the mailing list's subscription base continues to slowly
> > increase. We are about 3,800 people strong. On the other hand, a robot is
> > the most frequent poster to the list. Signs of the times? :-D
> > --
> > Eric Lease Morgan
> > Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship
> > Hesburgh Libraries
> > University of Notre Dame
> > 574/631-8604
> > https://cds.library.nd.edu<https://cds.library.nd.edu>
Check out my library at http://www.librarything.com/profile/timspalding<http://www.librarything.com/profile/timspalding>
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