kelowery at cs.com
Sun Mar 26 13:53:13 EST 2000
On 26 Mar 2000, at 20:07, Walter Mattfeld wrote:
> I would be interested in knowing the current number of subscribers to the
> b-hebrew list.
As of Sunday, March 25, 2000 there are 437 members.
> Are records kept ?
I'm not sure what you mean. There is a record for each current member which
includes his/her email address, member settings, and a password. This
information is only accessible to the co-moderators and list owner.
There is an archive of this list which you can search. (I don't consider it a
very good interface to the archives, but you can do some things.)
> Is the current number higher or lower than earlier times ? What were the
> higher numbers in earlier years ? Has there been a steady progression in
> subscribers or a falling off over the years ?
This list has had a long history. When we were based on the University of
Virginia's majordomo server, none of the current moderators had access to such
information, since there were no moderators at that time. In June 1998 the list
owner changed and the list was moved to the Sunsite host at the University of
North Carolina. We had 115 members to start with. As of today, we have 437
members. I can get a list of daily new subscribers, but I can't get a listing
of unsubscribers (which is curious, and something I'll look into). The list has
remained steady between 425 and 463 for the past year that I have been
checking, with 463 the highest I've ever seen it go.
Cyberspace is a very mobile community, and people come and go a lot. People
sign up because they're curious, and then leave when the list turns out to be
other than what they expect. I've noticed some drops when the threads become ad
hominem and heated, but not by a lot. Although the numbers are relatively
stable, I would not be surprised to see a higher rate of actual turnover.
As moderators, we are more concerned that of the 437 members on our list, less
than 10% actually post, with a list of about 15 members who are regular
contributors. We aspire to create an enviroment where people feel comfortable
to interact with one another. As you know, this is not an easy goal to reach!
> To what factors do the list moderators attribute the fluctuations in
> subscriptions ?
I don't think the fluctuations have been great enough to draw any real
conclusions. We would need every member who, when they subscribe and
unsubscribe, they tell us the reasons. We very rarely hear about the reasons
someone unsubscribes. Here are some factors that we know about:
1. When traffic on the list becomes very high, some will feel overwhelmed and
2. When one topic or another dominates discussion, some will leave because the
general trend of threads doesn't interest them; I've known of people who
didn't like it when the threads were too "historical," others when it
became too "linguistic," and still others when it became too "theological.
3. Email addresses go out of date *very* quickly; people often don't
unsubscribe, so the Lyris software will delete members whose email
"bounces" continuously over a long period of time.
We do not actively advertise our presence in the major Web indexes (e.g.,
Yahoo); otherwise, I think our list membership would go even higher.
More information about the b-hebrew