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Re: [GTh] Are e-lists dying?

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  • Michael Grondin
    Hi Roger, Yahoogroups allows four levels of contact between a group and a subscriber: individual emails , daily digest , special notices , or no email .
    Message 1 of 22 , Jul 1, 2008
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      Hi Roger,

      Yahoogroups allows four levels of contact between a group and a
      subscriber: "individual emails", "daily digest", "special notices", or
      "no email". The former two I would count as relatively interested
      members, the latter two as relatively uninterested - though there are
      exceptions like yourself. Judging from my own experience, most folks
      are probably subscribed to a lot of groups, get email from a few of them,
      check a few others from time to time, but (if they're like me) still belong
      to
      many groups that they no longer pay much attention to. (BTW, I don't know
      what "special notices" are, or to whom they go.)

      When I began contacting "relatively uninterested" subscribers, they
      were 48% of our membership. Because they don't normally receive
      any email beyond the original group welcome, most of the addresses
      had been unverified for a long time, and it turned out that about twenty
      of them (as I recall off the top of my head) were dead addresses.
      These were deleted (I don't think any other group has ever done this),
      with the result that these types of subscribers dropped to around 40%.
      I received only two responses - your own and one other person. Another
      couple of folks unsubscribed - as I suggested they do if they were no
      longer interested in the list. Overall though, the response was markedly
      underwhelming, given a hundred or so messages sent out.

      As to this thread, I'm pleased to note that the number of responses on
      our list are about the same as appeared on Crosstalk - both substantially
      higher than those on John-Lit.

      Mike Grondin

      > Hi Mike,
      >
      > I was one of the individuals on your "inactive" e-mail broadcast. I
      > was surprised as I faithfully have read every message off the home
      > page since subscribing to the list over a year ago. I even replied
      > to your "broadcast e-mail to stimulate interest message" to your off
      > line e-mail address with information. I wonder if you have several e-
      > mail addresses flagged as spam or even blocked. Someone else here
      > recently had that experience too so I hope you have checked that out.
      >
      > Have fun in Minneapolis.
      >
      > Roger Mott
      > Waterloo, Iowa
    • Michael Grondin
      Hi Andrew, I notice that one of the variables mentioned on Crosstalk was specialization, i.e., that groups with a narrow focus tended to fade away more readily
      Message 2 of 22 , Jul 1, 2008
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        Hi Andrew,

        I notice that one of the variables mentioned on Crosstalk was
        specialization, i.e., that groups with a narrow focus tended to
        fade away more readily than those with a broader focus. Well, of
        course our group has a rather narrow explicit focus, but I think
        that we've been open to many areas of interest which can reasonably
        be construed as relatively directly connected with the Gospel of Thomas
        and its manuscripts - from early Christian history in various geographic
        areas, to other Thomasine literature (The Book of Thomas the Contender,
        The Acts of Thomas - including notably the Hymn of the Pearl) to other
        tractates of Codex II, other sayings gospels (e.g., Q), even to the
        specifics of codex-production and the use of sacra nomina, and to issues
        of the preservation of ancient texts. In short, just about anything that can
        be directly connected to GThomas and its manuscripts is fair game, as
        far as I'm concerned. (As well as meta-issues, of course.)

        Regards,
        Mike
      • Chris Weimer
        Mike, You walk a dangerous line doing that, however. I have my subscription status as No Email , but I still get every message that goes through gthomas
        Message 3 of 22 , Jul 1, 2008
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          Mike,

          You walk a dangerous line doing that, however. I have my subscription
          status as "No Email", but I still get every message that goes through
          gthomas because of bloglines RSS reader. Imagine if you came across my
          "No Email" status and deleted my subscription, and upon seeing this or
          another message went to post and found out that I couldn't!

          Chris Weimer
          University of Memphis

          --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi Roger,
          >
          > Yahoogroups allows four levels of contact between a group and a
          > subscriber: "individual emails", "daily digest", "special notices", or
          > "no email". The former two I would count as relatively interested
          > members, the latter two as relatively uninterested - though there are
          > exceptions like yourself. Judging from my own experience, most folks
          > are probably subscribed to a lot of groups, get email from a few of
          them,
          > check a few others from time to time, but (if they're like me) still
          belong
          > to
          > many groups that they no longer pay much attention to. (BTW, I don't
          know
          > what "special notices" are, or to whom they go.)
          >
          > When I began contacting "relatively uninterested" subscribers, they
          > were 48% of our membership. Because they don't normally receive
          > any email beyond the original group welcome, most of the addresses
          > had been unverified for a long time, and it turned out that about twenty
          > of them (as I recall off the top of my head) were dead addresses.
          > These were deleted (I don't think any other group has ever done this),
          > with the result that these types of subscribers dropped to around 40%.
          > I received only two responses - your own and one other person. Another
          > couple of folks unsubscribed - as I suggested they do if they were no
          > longer interested in the list. Overall though, the response was markedly
          > underwhelming, given a hundred or so messages sent out.
          >
          > As to this thread, I'm pleased to note that the number of responses on
          > our list are about the same as appeared on Crosstalk - both
          substantially
          > higher than those on John-Lit.
          >
          > Mike Grondin
          >
          > > Hi Mike,
          > >
          > > I was one of the individuals on your "inactive" e-mail broadcast. I
          > > was surprised as I faithfully have read every message off the home
          > > page since subscribing to the list over a year ago. I even replied
          > > to your "broadcast e-mail to stimulate interest message" to your off
          > > line e-mail address with information. I wonder if you have several e-
          > > mail addresses flagged as spam or even blocked. Someone else here
          > > recently had that experience too so I hope you have checked that out.
          > >
          > > Have fun in Minneapolis.
          > >
          > > Roger Mott
          > > Waterloo, Iowa
          >
        • Michael Grondin
          Hi Chris, Nice to hear from you. I don t follow your reasoning, however. As I said, I only deleted dead addresses, i.e., addresses where the server in question
          Message 4 of 22 , Jul 1, 2008
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            Hi Chris,

            Nice to hear from you. I don't follow your reasoning, however.
            As I said, I only deleted dead addresses, i.e., addresses where
            the server in question indicated that the address was no longer
            valid. Of course, if someone subscribes to a group with one
            email address, then lets it go dead and gets a Bloglines feed
            through another address, the scenario you suggest could happen.
            Doesn't sound like that's what you had in mind, though. Anyway,
            I didn't know that one could get group messages thru Bloglines.
            That's interesting. So there could be more folks listening in than
            we're aware of?

            Mike

            > Mike,
            >
            > You walk a dangerous line doing that, however. I have my subscription
            > status as "No Email", but I still get every message that goes through
            > gthomas because of bloglines RSS reader. Imagine if you came across my
            > "No Email" status and deleted my subscription, and upon seeing this or
            > another message went to post and found out that I couldn't!
            >
            > Chris Weimer
            > University of Memphis
          • Chris Weimer
            Hey Mike, Ah, I see. I was hoping you weren t just deleting emails that didn t respond to you, as we re all busy enough to not respond to emails some point or
            Message 5 of 22 , Jul 1, 2008
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              Hey Mike,

              Ah, I see. I was hoping you weren't just deleting emails that didn't
              respond to you, as we're all busy enough to not respond to emails some
              point or another (I am all the time).

              I honestly don't know enough about the feeds and cookies of Yahoo
              groups, but I assume that the RSS feed should work for any group that
              allows RSS. I don't want to unsubscribe to see what happens, though.
              But certainly readership is probably higher than you expected. I know
              I'm not alone in using RSS readers to read email lists.

              All the best,

              Chris Weimer

              --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hi Chris,
              >
              > Nice to hear from you. I don't follow your reasoning, however.
              > As I said, I only deleted dead addresses, i.e., addresses where
              > the server in question indicated that the address was no longer
              > valid. Of course, if someone subscribes to a group with one
              > email address, then lets it go dead and gets a Bloglines feed
              > through another address, the scenario you suggest could happen.
              > Doesn't sound like that's what you had in mind, though. Anyway,
              > I didn't know that one could get group messages thru Bloglines.
              > That's interesting. So there could be more folks listening in than
              > we're aware of?
              >
              > Mike
              >
              > > Mike,
              > >
              > > You walk a dangerous line doing that, however. I have my subscription
              > > status as "No Email", but I still get every message that goes through
              > > gthomas because of bloglines RSS reader. Imagine if you came across my
              > > "No Email" status and deleted my subscription, and upon seeing this or
              > > another message went to post and found out that I couldn't!
              > >
              > > Chris Weimer
              > > University of Memphis
              >
            • Michael Grondin
              ... I agree, Rick. I d only add that one of the factors that seems to contribute to repetition is the apparent love of scholars for undecidable questions.
              Message 6 of 22 , Jul 2, 2008
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                Rick Hubbard wrote:
                > It sometimes seems there is "nothing new under the sun". The topics
                > of discussion on many lists and blogs frequently seem to be endlessly
                > repetitive. Worse still, I have the impression (and I [emphasize] that it
                > is only an impression) that many of the list participants pursue what can
                > only be called an "apologetic" agenda. The redundancy itself is boring
                > but persistent efforts to commandeer empirical scholarship to score
                > theological points are nothing less than mind-numbing.

                I agree, Rick. I'd only add that one of the factors that seems to contribute
                to repetition is the apparent love of scholars for undecidable questions.
                (This is apart from questions that _are_ decidable on empirical grounds,
                but which some participants insist on regarding as open questions.)

                > Perhaps this discussion raises a legitimate question: What will it take to
                > reinvigorate e-list participation? Again, speaking strictly from my own
                > perspective, I'd be more interested in discussions about BIG issues rather
                > than minutia. For example, I'd find it much more interesting to discuss
                > WHY the Gospel of Thomas is an important artifact for the study of the
                > development of "early Christianity" and HOW it either confirms or alters
                > our collective historical consciousness instead of debating topics like
                > the date of composition or the document's literary integrity.

                "Collective historical consciousness"? You're not going Jungian, are you?
                In any case, I wouldn't call the date of composition question 'minutia' so
                much as one of those questions endlessly debated precisely because
                it's essentially undecidable, so no one's in danger of being shown to be
                conclusively wrong (except maybe Nicholas Perrin :-).

                Mike
              • Rick Hubbard
                Hi Mike-- ... Jungian, Eh? Well, I don t think I ve gone around that particular bend, but who knows. When I was growing bald, I didn t really notice that was
                Message 7 of 22 , Jul 4, 2008
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                  Hi Mike--

                  You Wrote:
                  ||"Collective historical consciousness"? You're not going Jungian, are
                  ||you?

                  Jungian, Eh? Well, I don't think I've gone around that particular bend, but
                  who knows. When I was growing bald, I didn't really notice that was
                  happening either!

                  Maybe I should clarify what I meant by "collective historical
                  consciousness". In most societies there is a more or less shared
                  understanding about cultural foundations. Among those foundations, and
                  especially in the American tradition, is the almost subconscious conviction
                  that the truths of certain primal stories of origin are unimpeachable. You
                  know the ones I mean-George Washington slinging a silver dollar across the
                  Potomac, and such. I'd guess that another set of these "myths of origin"
                  probably includes communal beliefs that the Bible (66 books of it, no more
                  and no less) accurately describe the genesis of our broader religious
                  traditions (Christianity and Judaism). Since the closing decades of the
                  nineteenth century, when critical historical scholarship became prominent,
                  there seems to have been an increasing sense of un-ease about the way "that
                  old time religion" has been called in to question more and more. I'm
                  becoming increasingly interested about the social and cultural responses to
                  this dissonance.

                  The mere presence of the Gospel of Thomas is undeniable evidence that the
                  legitimacy of conventional understandings of Western society's collective
                  are suspect. The Gospel of Thomas, as well as the substantial number of
                  other "non-canonical" texts that are more or less contemporaneous with it,
                  have become "the elephants in the room" - they are pretty damn hard to miss,
                  but nobody wants to admit they are there. What I find fascinating is the
                  contrived responses to this herd of pachyderms.

                  Lately I've been reading as much as I can find about North American
                  responses to the rise of evolutionary theory, critical historical (biblical)
                  scholarship and technological advances during the late nineteenth and early
                  twentieth century. These three things, among others, contributed to the
                  growth of a rabid fundamentalist movement in Christianity in the early
                  twentieth century here in the United States. The fortunes of Christian
                  fundamentalism have waxed and waned and the shape of the movement has
                  frequently been re-shaped during the course of the last hundred years.
                  Oddly, although fundamentalism has never been much more than a marginal
                  segment of society it seems to have exerted much more influence on our
                  collective historical consciousness than one would reasonably expect.

                  In any case, awareness of the Gospel of Thomas MAY be contributing to the
                  development of yet ANOTHER reactionary trend in the American religious
                  traditions. I'm very interested in how this plays out, but somewhat less
                  interested these days in the questions of GTh's compositional history or
                  precisely when it all happened. It's NOT that these are unimportant topics,
                  it simply that I find discussion about less compelling than in the past.

                  Rick Hubbard
                  Humble Maine Woodsman

                  ||-----Original Message-----
                  ||From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                  ||Of Michael Grondin
                  ||Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2008 3:30 PM
                  ||To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                  ||Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: Are e-lists dying?
                  ||
                  ||Rick Hubbard wrote:
                  ||> It sometimes seems there is "nothing new under the sun". The topics
                  ||> of discussion on many lists and blogs frequently seem to be endlessly
                  ||> repetitive. Worse still, I have the impression (and I [emphasize] that
                  ||it
                  ||> is only an impression) that many of the list participants pursue what
                  ||can
                  ||> only be called an "apologetic" agenda. The redundancy itself is boring
                  ||> but persistent efforts to commandeer empirical scholarship to score
                  ||> theological points are nothing less than mind-numbing.
                  ||
                  ||I agree, Rick. I'd only add that one of the factors that seems to
                  ||contribute
                  ||to repetition is the apparent love of scholars for undecidable
                  ||questions.
                  ||(This is apart from questions that _are_ decidable on empirical grounds,
                  ||but which some participants insist on regarding as open questions.)
                  ||
                  ||> Perhaps this discussion raises a legitimate question: What will it
                  ||take to
                  ||> reinvigorate e-list participation? Again, speaking strictly from my
                  ||own
                  ||> perspective, I'd be more interested in discussions about BIG issues
                  ||rather
                  ||> than minutia. For example, I'd find it much more interesting to
                  ||discuss
                  ||> WHY the Gospel of Thomas is an important artifact for the study of the
                  ||> development of "early Christianity" and HOW it either confirms or
                  ||alters
                  ||> our collective historical consciousness instead of debating topics
                  ||like
                  ||> the date of composition or the document's literary integrity.
                  ||
                  ||In any case, I wouldn't call the date of composition question 'minutia'
                  ||so
                  ||much as one of those questions endlessly debated precisely because
                  ||it's essentially undecidable, so no one's in danger of being shown to be
                  ||conclusively wrong (except maybe Nicholas Perrin :-).
                  ||
                  ||Mike
                  ||
                  ||
                  ||
                  ||------------------------------------
                  ||
                  ||Gospel of Thomas Homepage: http://home.epix.net/~miser17/Thomas.html
                  ||Interlinear translation: http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/x_transl.htm
                  ||Yahoo! Groups Links
                  ||
                  ||
                  ||
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