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PICList Thread
'[ADMIN] Propose: Add another tag.'
2008\04\14@112649 by M. Adam Davis

face picon face
I'm not sure if this will get to you admins any faster or effectively
than my original post in OT, but I'm cc'ing you anyway...  I hope you
these thoughts useful, or, if not, at least amusing.

Too much discussion regarding the list (meta discussion), and it's all
opinion at this point.  I'd appreciate it if the admins would consider
making a statement regarding whether a new tag is going to be added so
the discussion can be closed.

To throw some statistics into the mess:

Nearly 40% of the threads on the piclist since November 2004 have been
in the EE thread.

OT is about 27% of the threads.

PIC is about 34% of the threads.

We've added tags for topics that are rarely used.  There has been no
penalty to the list for adding them, and even though they are rarely
used now it's not hurting anything that they are still around (AVR,
SX, ARM).

So I propose that we simply add another topic.  I prefer that EE
remain Electrical Engineering - We needn't define it to the Nth
degree, nor will it need to be policed excessively.

The new topic would merely be anything that people didn't feel was off
topic, nor electrical engineering.  It would be an "off topic but of
general engineering interest."

Why we need another topic -
- The admins have sided with Russell that anything of interest to
some engineers should not be considered off topic (though they don't
define the "Topic" of the list, and therefore off topic really has no
definition other than "If there's no tag for it, throw it in there")

- The EE tag is getting most of the list traffic.  This list is
almost defined by the EE tag now.  We can more finely divide the EE
tag to the benefit of everyone.

- The people who don't want another topic will largely be unaffected
by its addition.  It's not going to be death by a thousand papercuts,
nor will it diminish the list traffic.  If this is truly a worry, then
let's institute a policy: If any one topic consumes 30% or more of the
list traffic then consider splitting it up to encourage more finely
tuned discussions and on-topic discourse.  If a topic is under 5-10%
of the list traffic then combine it with another topic.  This will, in
practice, limit the number of natural topics to always fewer than 20
(in the worst, unlikely, case) and generally fewer than 5, of which no
more than 3 topics with "high" traffic will exist.

- The people who do want another topic will have fewer things to
complain about once it is added, but won't stop talking about it until
it is created.  This is not the first time this has been discussed,
nor will it be the last.  If there's a official policy in place (such
as above) then it need only be discussed when the trigger conditions
indicate.

- Most people don't have a lot of time to read all the piclist
topics, and let's face it - we have the volume of hundreds of smaller
lists.  By providing more finely grained topics, those that have less
time will be able to spend it more effectively.  Yes, you say it's
'trivial' to delete or ignore a thread, but that can't always be
determined until opening the message, or even reading through 1/3 of
its content.  This is a waste that can be easily and ready solved by a
technological, rather than social, solution.  By doing this we should
actually get better discussion on *all* the topics, as people with
interest and time will devote them to those topics they can best
contribute to.

But either way, please consider closing the issue sooner rather than later.

-Adam

PS: Statistics about the statistics - Gleaned from my gmail account I
use exclusively for the piclist, could be in error.  Numbers are
derived from the number of THREADs, not the number of messages.
Reader beware.


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