What's appropriate material for anthro-l? (was Re: Marcial Godoy

Danny Yee (danny@STAFF.CS.SU.OZ.AU)
Fri, 17 Feb 1995 12:18:42 +1000

I don't think we can produce hard and fast guidelines about what is
appropriate for anthro-l and what is not. "Anything that is likely to
be of interest to a large (how large?) fraction of the list members"
is probably a good general rule, but it's not always easy to tell
what will interest people. I don't want to be informed of *every*
earthquake, massacre or coup -- at least not via anthro-l -- but have
no objection to the list following events considered particularly
important by list members.

While anthro-l is "for" discussing anthropology, it is also a community
whose members are linked by more than just a shared interest in
anthropology. So my reaction to "off-subject" messages would depend
a lot on who they are from: if a long-term, active member of the
list posts stuff that only really concerns them personally, then I
have context in which to set what they say, and, more importantly,
I care about/am interested in them as much as in their ideas.

I'm toying with the idea of reversing this to provide a definition of
"virtual community": any group where commitment to and interaction with
other participants (for its own sake) comes to rival the ostensible
"purpose" of the group (whether implicit or explicit) as motivation
for participation.

Danny Yee.