cburford at gn.apc.org
Tue Oct 1 01:06:55 MDT 1996
John asked "what can you tell us about participation levels ? How many
(number or percentage) wrote anything in, say, the last month ? "
Three months ago I analysed the index as posted in the archives
for 3rd to 14th June 1996, but felt too embarrassed to share the results.
I have others to thank for a certain change in habit, and just at the
moment I am reasonably confident that John himself is posting more than
me, partly because he has been standing his ground about
participation in the Left Unity list I guess.
In this chance sample early June there were 587 posts in these 11 days.
(from 6/3 19:47 to 96-06-14 12:35). I will share details of the
same data if anyone wishes or is willing to double check my arithmetic
but the data is there in the archives.
Over 1/3 of the posts were contributed by 4 people.
Over 50% of the posts were contributed by just 7 people.
Rank order of the largest posters in this sample
Number % of 587 total
75 Louis P 12.7
59 Malecki 10
44 spiering 7.5
35 cburford 6
31 Adam Rose 5.3
27 zeynep 4.6
27 martens 4.6
22 ruby g 3.7
20 henwood 3.4
Other frequent posters I totalled were
10 quispe 1.7
10 rodwell 1.7
8 mahajan 1.4
Hans, who was moderator at the time,
contributed 4 posts, 0.7% of the total.
A different time sample would obviously show a somewhat
different pattern but with similar type of data, with
a heavily skewed distribution curve.
Statistics IMO are only the beginning of a discussion
of how to interpret them. The fact that any post is
vulnerable to being challenged by anyone of 200-300
people of very differing interpretations of marxism,
is one of the silent strengths of this list, and could
be so of its successor.
Nevertheless as Barkley has suggested, I think we are overdue
for a mechanism that balances the advantages of a completely
politically open workshop/forum/arena (bloodbath?) and
powerful tendencies which make it very difficult for
individuals, often they believe for the best of reasons,
to moderate the frequency of their contributions.
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