Re: Why Lurk...

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Mon Apr 04 2005 - 13:40:30 PDT

Dale, Fern, Heather et al--

My question about those who read but do not write or otherwise make their
presence known on xmca was a little
different than the one answered. In seeking to fix a whole in the (always
holey, never holy) xmca infrastructure (e.g. the
people who one sees listed under members are mostly not and the only way to
find those who are is to act like you are signing up) I was fascinated by
how many people took the trouble to sign up, sort of describe themselves,
but never posted a question or observation.

This interested me in particular because I get a lot of email and I think
the threaded discourse data base for xmca, which is updated daily, is a
great way to follow discussions. Why, I wondered, would anyone want to go to
the trouble of signing up just to read? I figured some people might not like
using the web and prefer to get stuff through email. But its so difficult to
keep the threads in mind! (Witness the discussion on development, learning,
breaking away, etc.).

I appreciate the replies to the question of why people like to read but
don't post-- lots of different legitimate reasons. I personally benefit from
the diversity that sometimes blossoms on xmca to beat down the myths of
orthodoxy that over-representation of specific people (I am far and away the
worst offender over-reprentation-wise) engenders (a word chosen not at

So, I'll keep mixing it up as best I can, as you will see. But it still
puzzles me that there are so many signed up members when the discourse is so
wonderfully googleable.

Cousin mike

On Apr 4, 2005 1:21 PM, <> wrote:
> In response to Mike's and others' postings about lurking.
> First of all, I really don't like the term
> sounds too predatory to me. And, as a lurker, I don't see
> myself as carnivorous at all in my reading of other's
> postings. Okay, well, maybe a little bit. It's delicious
> stuff! Anyway...
> I think of the XMCA list as sort of like a family reunion.
> When a family gets together, there are all different kinds
> of networks and relationships that become relevant as people
> interact with one another. Cousins and "play cousins"
> interact with each other, Aunts and Uncles, Uncles and
> nephews, etc. The family reunion metaphor also throws a
> dimension of temporality/spatiality in there that I think is
> important. There are different generations present, and
> people "living" in different places who come together at the
> reunion.
> Many times, I envision myself as one of the "youngins"
> listening to the words and stories and ideas of the four or
> five or ten old folks (I mean that in the most respectful
> and caring way) who I consider to be both more
> knowledgeable.
> But...while I'm in the circle of people listening to these
> conversations, I'm also doing many other things that young
> folks do, and I don't want to be disrespectful to other
> people who are more thoroughly engaged in the
> conversation/literature. And I don't want to appear foolish.
> In "real" family reunions, there are ways to cover up what
> might be construed as comments that are not quite at the
> same level as that of the grown folks, but email/threaded
> communication has a kind of linearity and reflective delay
> embedded in it that doesn't allow for that.
> So, that's my reason for not contributing more.
> Take Care,
> Heather

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