RE: Why Lurk...

From: David Preiss (
Date: Mon Apr 04 2005 - 14:06:00 PDT

It is strange, as a (relative) young participant, I have never felt this
list to be a meeting of old guys. But I guess, everybody can jump in and
out of this list as it pleases to her or him. On the other hand, I think
that we should not be afraid to say wrong or mistaken things as those
"mistakes" are the ones that generate shared learning.
David Preiss


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-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Cole []
Sent: Monday, April 04, 2005 4:41 PM
Subject: Re: Why Lurk...

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 random).

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

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

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,


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