On Sat, 18 Sep 2004 18:30:55 -0500,
"Iain E. Davis" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Conlang List Members,
> I've been sick for a week, and busy before that, and now I return
> to...something terrible...
> I read the conlang list to read about _conlanging_.

So do I.

>        I don't come here to
> read about education, politics, religion, sex, gender studies, the best OS,
> the best wordprocessor, the best person, the price of tea in china, or even
> how to treat my nasty cold.

Nor do I.  Actually, I have gone nomail years ago - because I don't
want all that crap to clog up my mailbox.  If all posts that are not
about conlanging hadn't been there, I'd never have gone nomail.
(Not that every single post about conlanging actually interests me,
and not that every single off-topic post is uninteresting to me.
But the reason why I am on CONLANG is that I want to talk with
other people about *conlanging* here.  There are many things that
interest me, ranging from music to politics, but these things I talk
about *elsewhere* and keep them out of CONLANG.)

> This list has an impressive amount of traffic. It is significantly busier
> than any other list I am subscribed to. On most days, I accept that as part
> of the package, because the discussion is about _conlanging_.  But when I
> find that my inbox is overflowing with messages that have nothing to do with
> conlanging, that annoys me. I spend too much of my life-span deleting
> messages I asked for...without having a barrage of messages I did not.

Yes.  Traffic is not an end in itself.  I'd prefer a low-volume mailing
list where most of the stuff interests me over a list where posts having
nothing to do with the topic of the list drown out the on-topic traffic.
Many people here seem to have forgotten that this is CONLANG, and not
some random talk-about-what-you-like chatroom.

> When I subscribed to this list, I asked for discussions of conlanging, and
> an opportunity to (at least attempt, with my limited knowledge) contribute
> to discussions about conlanging. I DID NOT ask for endless arguments about
> things that have nothing to do with conlanging. The last few months, I've
> seen it crop up a few times, and no doubt it has cropped up in years past.
> But today, looking at what has gone on recently...I think it has got out of
> hand.

Yes.  I estimate that at least 95% of all posts here are at least
of dubious appropriateness.

> I realize in the course of studying language, we have to touch on ANY
> subject.

True.  But there's a difference between touching on a subject and
embarking on every facet of it.  The latter is what makes the bulk
of traffic on CONLANG these days.

>        However, I'm pretty certain everyone on this list is capable of
> realizing when we've stopped talking about the subject in the context of
> constructed languages. When that happens, the subject should be dropped, or
> "re-railed" back on topic.

Yes.  And far too few people realize that subject lines can be changed.
In more than half of all posts on CONLANG, the subject line has nothing
to do with the contents of the article.  That's unacceptable.
The purpose of the subject line is to indicate what the message is
about - and that means what it is *actually* about, and not what
some half-forgotten message some twenty posts up the thread may have
been about two weeks ago.

> If you wish to continue discussion of those topics, there ARE appropiate
> forums for those topics. Go to those. Mailing lists, netnews, web-based
> forums, etc. etc. The list goes on and on. Go talk to someone who cares to
> hear about whatever it is that is so important to you.

Yes.  Some people insist on talking about *everything*, and they insist
on doing that *here*.  The latter part is what is wrong.

>       But when you come to
> this list, leave it behind you, and focus on conlanging.

> I implore everyone...let all of this die. It has no place here and is
> rapidly destroying what was once a good thing.

I whole-heartedly agree here.  Before someone misunderstands me:
I am very in favour of free speech, but that doesn't mean that
a forum dedicated to some kind of topic may be freely abused to
talk about everything else.  CONLANG *is* dedicated to a particular
topic, namely, conlanging.