At 09:53 AM 3/11/2004, Bagotronix Tech Support wrote:

BTW, I know I should take this topic to the OT forum.  However, I have never
seen any activity on that forum.  And I have tried to sign up for it 2 or 3
times in the past, but never seem to be able to get on it.  I think I did
the sign-up procedure correctly, I just never get any traffic from it.  Does
anyone here actively engage the OT forum, and how much activity is there?

There is some traffic. Today, for example. If you aren't seeing any activity, you aren't subscribed, I presume.

I would handle the matter differently than Techserv has handled it. First of all, I'd see that list decisions were being made by the user association, i.e., by the users who cared to participate in the association, not by a single person except as authorized by the association. This is really how the protel-users lists on are being run.

Given that, my proposal would be that newcomers to the user list would actually be subscribed automatically to a series of lists, the whole group that would be considered of general interest (and "Off-Topic" is by definition of general interest.) They would not be subscribed to certain special lists, such as the library working group list (which is pretty moribund right now). Then individual users who wished to opt out of individual lists could easily do so. I think that most users don't mind a certain amount of off-topic discussion. Those who do should be able to opt out of it. Once such a system was in place, I'd get much more strict about requiring that off-topic posts go to the off-topic list, egregious violators might even be put on moderation (not expelled, behavior would have to get pretty bad for that). But with the present system, there is a fairly strong disincentive to post to the off-topic list, because most users aren't subscribed to it, it being extra trouble, as you have seen (it isn't usually so much trouble though!).

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