Volume data

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Tue Oct 1 01:06:55 MDT 1996

Volume Data

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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