Taxacom too busy?

Peter Rauch peterr at VIOLET.BERKELEY.EDU
Mon Apr 3 11:01:00 CDT 1995

On Mon, 3 Apr 1995 13:01:50 -0500, Julian Humphries <jmh3 at CORNELL.EDU>
said, among other things:

>Out of curiosity as to the effect of the recent discussions on
>this listserv about the mission of this discussion group ...

>I am not trying to start a new thread on this subject and *don't*
>welcome followup email unless someone is volunteering to conduct
>an informal survey of new members (Rauch, you have a lot of spare time,

Well, I don't have the stats on signoff/subscribe which Julian seeks,
but I previously examined the following and was holding on to it until
the RFD (see below) was posted (but, since Julian raised the (related)
issue now, I'll post now.)

Julian, Actually I'd say my time _is_ filled up and not "spare"; but,
I do acknowledge that I have a lot of (in?)discretion in how I use it
(wanna help me repair my sidewalk....?)
- - - - - - -
It has been said from time to time that TAXACOM is too busy. Is it?

For example, in a recently posted Request For Discussion on Usenet to
establish a new Usenet newsgroup,, the following
comment was included as partial "rationale" for establishing the new

"The TAXACOM mailing list, for discussion of taxonomy and systematics,
has nearly 1000 subscribers and it has been necessary for some time
now to refrain from posting too much, to keep subscribers' mailboxes
from overflowing."

While we usually refrain from posting irrelevant material, and
occasionally must remind ourselves to refrain from posting purely
personal and/or administrative messages to TAXACOM, I am not aware
that "too much" is TAXACOM's problem. In fact, I was under the
impression that "too little" substantive discussion was a recurring
TAXACOM problem (witness, e.g., Krishtalka's recent stimulus).

Here are a few (approximate) statistics for TAXACOM Feb-Mar 1995 activity.

Number of days:       50 (Feb 1 - Mar 28)
Number of messages:  360
Number of Subjects: <221 (rough count)

No. of Days  No of Messages/day  Comment
-----------  ------------------  -----------------------------------------
    28            <= 5           In other words, half the days weren't busy
    11           6 - 10          Another 11 days were not too busy
    11          11 - 36          Eleven days were busy

During those 50 days fewer than 221 different subjects were presented
(which indicates a fair degree of diversity of topics and perhaps of
interest), but 15 subjects account for more than 110 of the 360
messages (which means that a few subjects elicited about a third of
the traffic).

I don't believe that these figures indicate that TAXACOM subscribers
should be "refraining from posting too much", nor do I see in the
archives an indication (from a significant number of subscribers) that
TAXACOM has any serious degree of causing its subscribers' "mailboxes
... overflowing."

Another non-systematics message   -sigh...
- - - - - - - - - - -

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