Re: [sl4] Re: META: closing the list

From: Mark Waser (
Date: Tue May 10 2011 - 05:44:02 MDT

I have to agree with you. The fact that the original closure was prompted
by a flurry of messages made it, I believed, a bad idea at that time. The
fact that there wasn't a general hue and cry and that traffic has dropped
again pretty much proves your point. I think that it's a shame -- but it's

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gwern Branwen" <>
To: "sl4" <>
Sent: Monday, May 09, 2011 11:21 PM
Subject: [sl4] Re: META: closing the list

On Sun, Mar 13, 2011 at 1:00 PM, Gwern Branwen <> wrote:
> In 2010, there were a grand total of 144 emails on SL4, or less than 1
> email every 2 days. Looking through , most of
> those emails seem to be joins, link posting, or announcements. The SL4
> home page claims that 'The SL4 list currently has around 200 members.
> Usual volume is five to ten messages per day, with occasional
> intervals of pleasant silence, and flurries of high activity.' but I
> suspect both sentences are drastic over-estimations now.

To follow up; it has been almost 2 months since I sent this email. In
the 3 list archive periods for that month
(, there have been exactly *9*
emails unrelated to my list closure suggestion. (I think, anyway. I'm
not sure whether the archives are not broken, since I didn't see some
of the emails it claims were sent about the list closure, and the last
email on record, , links to a
2000 email as the 'next message'!) Of those 9 emails, at least 3 were
simply announcements or pointers to announcements elsewhere; at least
2 were vapid and added nothing; and <3 were simply offtopic or of
entirely questionable relevance. One would think that proposing the
equivalent of the death sentence for a mailing list would stir a
little more traffic...

In an interesting comment on my original email, it was forwarded to
the Extropy-chat ML, where it met with no public reply of any kind:

In that 2 month-long period, incidentally, Extropy-chat has seen
approximately 1800 emails. LW has seen approximately 128 Articles
(, approximately 322 Discussion
posts*, and it's more than a little difficult to calculate this but
around *14,000* comments†. MoR, with a few updates, has received an
additional >504 reviews in that period‡. Robin Hanson now posting
alone on OB has >50 posts since March 13th or so, and with what looks
like an average of 20-30 comments per posting, >1000 comments! Hell,
my own personal site has had more comments in the past few days(some
fairly substantial, eg.
than SL4 has had emails in the past 2 months.

To re-mention
says that SL4 is useful for "Shuttering SL4 would be a huge loss —
unless you need to restrict and control the conversation."; I will
note that he has not posted once in the past 2 months besides the list
closure thread.

To summarize: *no one is using SL4*. If a ML is not being used, why
should it remain active?

Now. I could keep this up for the indefinite future, posting
statistics about how other sites are literally 1000x more active than
SL4 is. But if all the points I have presented are insufficient, then
it's hard to see why simply repeating them with slight variations as
the statistics change would make them sufficient. I'm done; my case
has been presented. I'll stick around for a month for whatever is left
to discuss, and then unsubscribe - voting with my feet, as it were.

> 'Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s
> incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."'

* see &
† Since 8 May began, there have been ~400 comments proper, judging
from how far back I had to go to reach 7 May comments: is 9
May. Assume just 150 Article comments a day, and undercounting to get
56 days, that's 8400 comments. Discussion seems to have a lower rate
of around 100 comments a day judging from
so that adds on another 5600.
‡ 14 reviews per page on, and 36 pages before 12 March and 13
March reviews start showing up


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