[b-hebrew] Bullying, Challenging, and Appeasing: The Patterns of B-Hebrew

John M. Linebarger jmlineb at comcast.net
Wed Apr 15 14:57:44 EDT 2009


I'm a B-Hebrew lurker who occasionally posts questions, and has also commented about the Jim Stinehart phenomenon.  However, by trade I am a Computer Scientist.  My dissertation work was on computational support for group collaboration patterns in a distributed virtual environment for product design.

So I'm both professionally and personally fascinated by the patterns (ruts, really) that the B-Hebrew mailing list has fallen into over the last several months (what I call the "Jim Stinehart" era).  In fact, I am considering using B-Hebrew as a case study in disfunctional Web-based collaboration and submitting the results to a conference or journal.

Here are my observations:

1.  Three patterns characterize recent B-Hebrew postings:  Bullying (Jim), Challenging (Karl, et al.), and Appeasing (the moderators, although George has adopted more of a Challenging pattern of late).
2.  The net effect of the Bullying, Challenging, and Appeasing is that those patterns have drowned out the Question/Response, Requests for Assistance, and Responsible Hypothesis Floating patterns that used to characterize the list..  Statistically, they simply dominate all other traffic.
3.  Not only do these new patterns dominate all other traffic, my hypothesis is that it squelches and discourages other traffic because questions get lost in the crossfire.  I know that I have submitted questions from time to time recently that were never answered, simply because all attention was focused on Jim.

In short, it is hard not to conclude that the B-Hebrew is currently disfunctional with respect to its original goals.  Sad, but absolutely fascinating.  It will make a great case study.  Thanks!

John M. Linebarger, PhD (Computer Science)
Sandia National Laboratories
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA



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