[Theforum] Demographics

Daniel J. Cody djc at members.evolt.org
Wed Nov 7 15:01:55 CST 2001

On Thu, 8 Nov 2001, Madhu Menon wrote:

> But... we shouldn't err in mistaking cause for effect.
> Let me illustrate with an example that's close to home.

i see what you're getting at..

> The analogy is that if most of the design, usability, content, etc. people 
> stay away from thelist because they think it's not the place for them, the 
> effect will be that there will be more discussions on Linux/Oracle/PHP 
> etc., leading you to think that in fact, you don't have (m)any designers 
> who subscribe to thelist. See what a vicious circle it is?

totally! i was going to address this in the first post to you, but didn't
have the time :)

> And there are many of them. I'm just trying to think of ways in which we 
> can get them to "de-lurk" and show themselves. You say there are more than 
> 2000 subscribers to thelist. How many of them are lurkers? I haven't seen 
> even 1000 people participate (I might be wrong, but it's just my perception).

oh, i'd venture to guess that 90% of almost *any* online community is
comprised of lurkers.. i'm on another web list, but have never de-lurked -
yet i'm still an active part in the web dev community as a whole, just not
*their* web dev community. its a complex issue to say the least :)

i've been thinking about it on a daily basis for almost three years
now. the only thing i've really come up with to get most lurkers to
de-lurk is to lead by example, make everything inviting and comfortable,
keep them informed and up to date about shit, and so on.. the people that
really lurk are going to lurk even more if the spotlight is on them(the
lurkers) to de-lurk. most likely, that spotlight isn't what they want(the
reason they're lurkin in the first place) and they won't de-lurk.
since they don't de-lurk, no other lurkers de-lurk, and it adds to the
stigma in the lurkers mind that 'geez, everyone knows eachother, cus no
other lurkers came forward, i might have  hard time "fitting in" '

basically, its the 'you cant lead a horse to water' saying applied to
human social behaviors and individual pysche's(however its spelled :).

anywho, thats just my thoughts over the last three years mixed with a
double minor in Psych and Soc. :)

the email you sent out was good btw, thanks for that. it helps out when
people see that kind of thing coming from someone other than me, matt,
aardvark, rudy, scott, etc. 

i'll get off my soapbox now  :)


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