Thursday, December 01, 2005

 

Listserver Overload

It has been nearly a week since my last post here...what have I been doing instead? Among other things, trying to get caught up (ha! ha!) on my listserver reading. For some reason, once I subscribe for a listserver and read it for a while, I lose interest but don't unsubscribe. What's worse, I find it very, very hard to delete any of the messages I've received; as if I might need my own personal archive, off-line? And they don't take up anywhere near as much space as all the magazines, old clothes, broken appliances and so on that encumber my house.

One rationalisation is that editing the message threads down to something concise could be a contribution to some (free and open source) software projects, since documentation is often incomplete (why else would the topics be on the listserver?). Where, and in what form, my edited versions would be published is an open question...as is the appropriateness of inclusion or exclusion of the names of those who provided the answers and tips. Nevertheless, occasionally I go through some of the messages and try to edit them.

Actually, I'd rather not know how many, or how few, I've actually managed to process to something worth keeping. Most often, it is impossible, because:

I should add that my yield is especially low because I subscribe to digests, and spend much time searching for other digests containing posts on the topic at hand, rather than relying on threads. This (subscribing to digests) is a really bad idea if you plan to try to follow threads.

Just for perspective, my current backlog is:
TotalUnreadList
16221599FreeBSD Questions
324274FreeBSD Hardware and Firewire
8447PostgreSQL
23893COIN-OR open source operations research software project
868139Forrest (xml web publishing with Apache Cocoon)
439280xml-tech
217124Bull-I3 + jet (French university research and conference lists)
9268L'Internaute (leisure)


I subscribed to another one or two this week, but they seem not to be active (nothing in my inbox, yet). There is also my college class list, but that is a completely different category, as far as I am concerned--usually the first thing I read after family and friends.

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