I have never run an email list. I have been putting off the task of blogging about the current issue of the day in Victoria, how to run an email list and what its rules should be.
I am currently chairing a panel which is reviewing the Australian domain name system (DNS) - read all about it at http://www.auda.org.au/2007npp/2007npp-index. The list for domain names in Australia is the DNS list, courageously run for years by Kim Davies who pursues a pretty non-interventionist approach. Very wise. Its a wild and woolly list. Librarians are so polite by contrast, even when they come close to breaking the rules. If they do. I don't think we have a lot to worry about.
I am glad that the time for comment to the ALIA Board on the ALIA lists has been extended to the end of March, because lists are very important for participation in ALIA, and it is important that they are used. I hope to work my way through some issues, and post some considered thoughts. Informed, of course, by my experiences of the DNS list and other horrors.
Rather than speculate on rules for a list, a starting point might be: what makes a "good" list? Some first thoughts:
1 Activity - something has to be going on.
2 Enough people sitting near networked computers for a big chunk of their time. A critical mass of potential participants.
3 Someone in charge, however lightly. Someone to throw in a thought, email a notice, when things are slow.
Any other ideas?