[globaloutlookDH-l] Balancing volume and openness

Daniel O'Donnell daniel.odonnell at uleth.ca
Wed Feb 6 14:07:47 MST 2013

Hi all,

There's been some discussion lately on the list and in back channels 
about the balance between volume of email traffic vs. inclusiveness and 

I've passed the question on to the executive to see if there is some 
nice answer to the issue. But since it is an important one and of 
immediate interest to members, I hope you'll forgive me proposing an 
interim suggestion: that we concentrate on providing tools to those who 
find the traffic heavier than they wish, rather than cut back on 
relevant traffic.

I've just added a footer to the list (it should be at the bottom of this 
email) that explains how to set your subscription to "DIGEST" mode. When 
you subscribe in digest mode, you receive a single email each day with 
all the postings from the list for the last 24 hours. It is harder to 
read (I find), but it solves the traffic problem in one step.

Most people are subscribed in NON-DIGEST mode, this means that you 
receive each email as it is posted. This is much easier to read and 
respond to, but it can involve a lot of traffic.

We can also help each other out by including clear subject lines, 
deleting excess text in replies, and, if we know how to do so, setting 
filters in our email clients to group emails (I do this with all my 
email, for example).

Since a major goal of globaloutlookDH is to break down communication 
barriers that have until now prevented people from different regions 
working together and learning from each other, I think personally that 
it is important that we err on the side of letting people now about 
initiatives and activities rather than on that of reducing traffic at 
the expense of hiding initiatives. Of course all should be respectful of 
each other's attention: given that we currently do have a relatively 
high rate of traffic, we might show this respect by continuing to avoid 
publishing completely tangential emails (something I've not seen yet).

But above all, especially in the beginning, we need patience as we 
develop a sense of ourselves and the list.

Thanks for a really invigorating couple of weeks!

Daniel Paul O'Donnell
Professor of English
University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge AB T1K 3M4

+1 403 393-2539

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