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Shepherding discussions

Mike and Bill,

I've just got back to email mode after drifting around for a couple of weeks,
computer-free (thanks in part to a bad Apple). Mike, I think your suggestion of
having thread-shepherds is great, given, as you say, the success on the CHAT
course all those months back. The shepherd could ensure disussions stay on
track and shepherd straying topics to new threads, hopefully without leaving
any belly-up (I've never seen a sheep belly-up). The interventions like
Michael's into Bill's thread are naturally important but might be better in
another, parallel pen.

For many, I think, discussions zoom along at such a rapid pace and take
unexpected left or right turns that to join in is almost like jumping onto the
race track while all the cars are looming in on you. For instance, I've just
spent a half-hour or so looking at old discussions of "history" in CHAT, and
found it quite difficult to find any substantial discourse on this hoary old

My two-bob's worth.

Phil Chappell

Mike wrote a couple of weeks ago:

Thanks Bill-- Apropos of phil's analysis I did not read far enough
down the note.

What changes in xmca culture might mitigate the obvious problems
without being likely to cause new problems. For example, I, too,
thought the issue of cultural historical analysis
important for my reasons, probably different that Phil's or Michael's,
but personally pressing, but could think of no way to overlap my
interests and other competing one's to do any follow up.

Is there any change at all that creating something like a volunteer
committee to shepard along different discussions acknoweldged as
important might work? Anyone who really cares to see a particular
thread pursued could work on that thread which might or might not
propsper, but at least would not die a sudden death for no sponsor
willing to put in, say, a week or so, seeing if it gathered attention,
and different people could
simultaneously participate and lurk as their proclivities led them to.

Having the reminder of Eva's work appear and reappear, even as we miss
her online presence, is one gift of the discourse.

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