Thanks for the helpful discussion of the problems on the list. I will try to address them, but the co-owner of the list, Greg Foster, is the person who founded the list and the web page. He understands all the technicalities involved. Unfortunately, he lost interest in the list and deleted his membership in it years ago. Yet he is proud of having created the list and often tells me he will address the problems I have been bringing to him. (I handle trivial problems such as adding new members to the list and changing addresses when needed.) There are two major problems, or three if one considers lack of general participation a problem.

1. The problem we have been trying to address recently is the loss of the pre-2001 archives. Why they were eliminated by the Missouri listserv is a mystery to me. Perhaps they just thought that anything pre-21st century was insignificant! Greg had the archives backed up, but not in a form that could easily uploaded--apparently. For some months, Greg seemed to be working on putting them in the right format, and a few early archives have been restored. However, Greg has not been answering my emails lately, so I don't know what is happening right now.

2. A long-standing problem has been the loss of the TSE web page. Again, I'm not sure why things appear and disappear in the depths of cyberspace. It may have involved  the new listserv software the university bought into, or it may have fallen victim to one of their campaigns to tidy up university web space. Once it was gone, Greg was reluctant to put up a new one. His feeling, I think, may have been partly influenced by the Eliot estate refusing permission for the site to feature Greg's concordance to the complete poetic works.

For years, I kept expecting him to restore the page. When it didn't happen, I suggested to David Chinitz, then president of the TSE Society, that it be moved to the society's web page.  David wasn't eager to take it on, but might have if Greg hadn't felt that it would be too bad for it to leave Mizzou, and I felt that way too. But still no web page. I designed one myself, and Greg very rightly pointed out that it was amateurish. I then offered $200 to some of Greg's students to design a page, but Greg told me that they too lost interest!

3. Critical mass? It would be nice to have the participation we had in the 20th century. But most lists never had that kind of participation. My James Merrill list goes months without a message. But when a new publication or conference or news item comes up, the list is invaluable for its members, the vast majority of whom are so-called lurkers. It might help to think of the list as a Bulletin Board rather than a Discussion List. As for the current value of the list, I have learned a great deal from the active members who alerted us to new publications, and real discussion frequently does take place that is rare on any of the many other lists I belong to. --Concerning the members who have left the list, the complaint I hear at TSE meetings is that there are too many trivial posts. If that is true (trying to be tactful here), it's not a problem for me since I filter my posts into a separate mail box (one can also request a single daily digest post); and  (which is crucial to relevant discussion) as long as Subject lines are accurate. The separate mail box or digest form allows one to screen the posts and open only those of list members or with subject lines that interest you.

How then to deal with problems 1 and 2? When the univ. starts up again, and I can reach people in person, I'll let you know.