[GRRN] Info Overload

Bruce Nordman (bnordman@dante.lbl.gov)
Thu, 07 Jan 1999 09:47:46 -0500

On the issue of what and how much information to include, I'll offer
the following suggestions based on my own experience:

* Consider getting lists like 'greenyes' in "digest" mode where all
the messages for one day are combined into one. Cuts down on the
clutter in your inbox, and quicker to scan messages.

* Consider having more than one email address -- devote one address
solely to list email with the other for personally-addressed mail.

* Make use of web pages. For many postings, a brief description
followed by a URL would suffice. Job postings would seem to be
a perfect example of this. People who are interested can follow
the web link and the rest can quickly skim it. Many other
postings also likely would well be treated this way. I realize
that many people may not have the ability at present to put up
web pages, or not be able to do it easily, but we should all
endeavor to make better use of it. In time this will become
more important, as (for example) the same job posting gets sent
to many lists that each of us get.

* Edit your replies. Often people reply to a message and include
the entire previous message. This adds unnecessary clutter, as
in most cases there needs only be a brief excerpt of the previous
email to serve as a reference, or that contains the pertinent
ideas. A minute of editing on the part of the replyer can save
gobs of time for the rest of us to not have to wade through the
repeated text. As people learn how to "archive" their email
(I save mine for a year+ incoming and outgoing) it is easy to
go back and retrieve the full text if need be.

* Consider a moderator. As lists get more people, the likelihood
that junk will end up on the list rises, often quite unintentionally.
Moderators perform a terribly important function.

* Don't send personal replies to the whole list, or rather, be sure that
the reply is really of wide interest before doing so.

Yours in data overload,