Yes Tom,
I could see you were on a different matter before I posted but I was wondering whether the number of listers is in fact real and I do think the matter you raise is important. 

If we go back over the past  decade and think about how many actually contributed how much larger would the list of contributors than the 17 you list be? I think I can do a fair representation off the top of my head Arwin, Pat, Umberto, Guy, Rick, Marcia, Diana, Kate, Cassandra …. who else. I wonder how many of the 200 or 250 are dead letter drops. A friend who manages the mail for the University of Melbourne has a fair bit of conflict with people who have over 10,000 unread mails in their letterboxes but won't delete any. 
That's one point. 

The other is I wonder if there is a critical mass in the terms you suggest.

I won't name names but it is clear that there are a few among us who produce very rewarding mails. I don't mean they are the only serious or intelligent observations but I mean structured, scholarly and demonstrating a large commitment to the individual mail.  I would not include myself. Which is not posturing just a fact. I do not have a job which allows me to follow a discussion reliably so I keep quiet unless I have some small useful thing to offer….. mostly. But,,, every now and then something is just too much fun not to jump in. But I would not see a whole lot more people like me as a profitable addition.  

Still I am sure you are right that not being visible is a problem. But then there are other problems. If there are 183 people watching this with ne'er a peep - well I would say there is a habitat problem which will remain even with more creatures in the jungle.

Cheers Pete

On 31/07/2013, at 11:35 PM, Tom Colket wrote:


I am not so concerned about getting an accurate count of the number of total subscribers to the TSE list. I am concerned about the number of active posters, and the fact that no _new_ people are joining the list (probably because they can't find it, now that the list is "private").

To show you what I'm talking about, I used the TSE archives to look, month by month, at all the posts for 2013 (Jan 1 - July 30, 2013). 

Here are the actual statistics:

Total number of posters in 2013
(Jan 1 - July 30, 2013)

(I realize that the 'tabs' below may now look good in your email browser, but it's the best I can do since I don't know how to make an HTML table)

Poster                      # posts     % of the total List posts
--------------              ---------   -------------------------
Chokh Raj (CR)         422         32
Peter Montgomery   314         24
Nancy Gish               148         11
David Boyd                86          7
Ken Armstrong          73          6
Rick Parker                70          5
Carol Cox                  62          5
Peter Dillane             60          5
Tom Colket                31          2
Richard Seddon         19          1
John Angell Grant     13          1
Timothy Materer        7           1
Tom Gray                   6           0
Jerome Walsh            3           0
Vishvesh Obla           2           0
Eugene Schlanger      2           0
Robert Summers         1           0

Total posts              1319        100%
(Jan 1 - July 30, 2013)

As you can see, just two posters (CR and Peter M) account for over half of all posts this year (56%). Since the start of the year, only 17 people have sent in even one post. Only a dozen people participate at least once a month (on average). 

And I'm not even subtracting out the posts that have nothing to do with Eliot!

That's WAY below critical mass for something that calls itself "The T. S. Eliot Discussion List."

-- Tom --

> Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2013 14:28:02 +1000
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: The TSE list and "critical mass"
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Hey folks
> would a self initiated audit be useful? That is everyone sends in a 
> statement of who is on line.
> ie maybe just an avatar
> or an email address .....
> depending on how much you want to divulge
> or more
> say
> Peter Dillane, Melbourne Australia, amateur interest, undergraduate degree 
> with majors in Eng Lit and Language; Thesis on Marlowe; specific Eliot 
> interest - general; favourite single malt ....etc etc
> Cheers Pete
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 10:59 AM
> Subject: Re: The TSE list and "critical mass"
> >I used to send a command to the listserver once in a while to get the 
> >number
> > of list subscribers. A few years ago I started getting messages saying 
> > that
> > I was not authorized to use the command. The number has been pretty 
> > steady
> > at about 250 members since I joined the list until I was denied access to
> > the information. Maybe it was at the end of last year that Peter M. was
> > having some trouble with the list. He sent a command and as a side-effect 
> > he
> > got the number of members sent back. I remember him writing that the 
> > number
> > was about 200.
> >
> > The number of list members would have almost no effect on Missouri's
> > resources. The number of bytes being stored would (number of posts, sizes 
> > of
> > the posts, attachments.)
> >
> > Regards,
> > Rick Parker
> >
> >
> >
> > On Tue, 30 Jul 2013 08:58:35 -0400, Ken Armstrong
> > <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >
> >>
> >>On 7/30/2013 7:09 AM, Tom Colket wrote:
> >>>
> >>> A discussion list has to have a critical mass of subscribers or it
> >>> dies. For many years there was just such a critical mass on the TSE
> >>> list. Someone would start a topic and others would pick it up and add
> >>> things (and it wasn't always the exact same people, taking predictable
> >>> "sides"). But in recent years the erosion of subscribers has became
> >>> startling. We are now well below critical mass.
> >>>
> >>
> >> Interesting. Are the actual figures available? I believe in the not
> >>too distant past Tim M has referred to restrictions on resources, both
> >>virtual and financial, and has asked for listers to make their
> >>preferences known to MO powers that be. I'm guessing that that hasn't
> >>much happened.
> >>
> >>Ken A
> >>
> >>
> >