The dynamics of a mailing list (was Re: Test)

Bill Moran wmoran at
Mon Mar 26 12:28:01 UTC 2007

In response to Chris <racerx at>:

> Simon Chang wrote:
> > Hear, hear.
> > 
> > Chris, please remember NOT to do this again.
> > 
> > SC
> Yanno - I was just gonna let this go but it seems a simple "sorry" isn't
> good enough for some that simply don't feel as if life is complete
> without some sorta bitchin'
> Grow up, get a life, move on. It wont be the first time someone does
> this - and it certainly won't be the last - much less have the offender
> (me in this case) apologize for it...

For crying out loud.

There are x000 people on this mailing list.  When you do something that's
considered unacceptable you'll immediately have two scenarios:
1) Some people just _have_ to speak their peace, even if it's already
   been spoken by someone else.
2) Many people will (literally) post their objection simultaneously, and
   you'll then feel like the whole world is jumping on you because you
   get 5 or 6 messages at once.

However, responding like you did, Chris, only makes it worse.  Keep in mind
that it's less than 1% of the list members that are making a fuss right now.

Too often, this list traffic ends up clogged with some sort of flame war that
_only_ 5 or 6 people are actually participating in.  Remember, again, that's
less than 1% of the total list participants.

Yes, the test@ list exists to keep test messages off the other lists.  Yes,
you should have posted there.  Yes, _someone_ was right to point that out
to you so you know for next time.  No, it's not a big deal if a few people
on the list make a bigger deal out of it than seems necessary.  Yes, your
best bet is to just ignore the loudmouths -- they only make noise if fed.

As usual, the subsequent traffic has far exceeded the original faux pas.

I've been an active member of this mailing list since some time around 1998,
I think.  It's often frustrating to see the same issues come round again and
again -- but I look on it as a good thing.  It means there's constantly new
blood coming in to FreeBSD -- it means the project is very much alive.

Bill Moran

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