Meta: Post quality, lurkers, competence

From: Michael Vassar (
Date: Thu Jun 08 2006 - 10:16:11 MDT

Hi everyone. As many here surely already know, the least competent
individuals are often also least capable of accurately assessing their own
abilities and as a result believe themselves to be among the most competent.

I think that this may create problems for a list of this sort.

The official standards for posting on SL4 are sufficiently high that well
over 90% of posters probably don't qualify to post here. An unfortunate
consequence of this may be that while the competent, rational, and fairly
modest and busy posters who haven't read through the whole archives are kept
out, the overconfident and incompetent are selectively admitted.

I recently found a dramatic example of this in the form of a SL4 lurker I
discovered through my recruitment activities in meatspace who appears to be
more actively rational than the vast majority of SL4 posters. That I did
this implies that SL4 is not even succeeding at the goal of bringing SL4
people to one-another's attention.

In order to remedy this, I have a request for all you lurkers out there.
If you don't think that what you have to say meets the standards of SL4, but
you aren't sure, want to help, think you might have some good ideas, or
whatever, please Write to Me, at this address (michaelvassar at If you aren't sure that you are competent, but you think you
might be I can spend my time trying to help rather than letting you clutter
the list. This way hopefully we can have both fewer useless posts AND fewer
wasted opportunities or ignored insights.

Socrates claimed that only the wise know that they know nothing
Ben Franklin said "it is better to keep quiet and be thought a fool than to
speak and remove all doubt"
we don't want to screen out Socrates and Franklin while letting in the crazy
guy from the street-corner who spends his time screaming that he's Jesus.

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