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After May 14, 2001, the cam-list is invitiation-only. You must be referred by another list member or get permission from me to be added to the list. Please email me if you do not understand.


CamList: The Mailing List

Are you looking for the cms-list? A list about Content Management Systems. Please note that the cms-list is very different from the cam-list.

About the CamList:

The cam-list was re-launched on May 14, 2001 with the following message:

I've been thinking for a long time about killing off the cam-list, due to its very low traffic. When I started the cam-list, I intended it to be a place where CamWorld readers could discuss postings, recent news, technical issues, and other things of interest to web-heads.

The list started in 1999, and for a while was pretty good, but over time the number of posts dropped to near nothing and now there are only occasional posts. This has led me to believe that I need to kill the list, re-purpose the list, or do something with it besides let it languish in its own misery.

I recently had a great discussion with the CTO of my company, a guy who has been doing this Web stuff for longer than most. (He was Wired's first webmaster in 1994). I told him about a private mailing list I had discovered from a post he had forwarded to the entire company. Through the list headers, I managed to figure out how to susbcribe and since February, I have been lurking, soaking up the knowledge of people vastly more intelligent than me who have years and years more experience than I do (and I have a considerable amount). I noticed a few things right away about this very private and exclusive list:

  1. Everyone trimmed their posts. I mean everyone. There were no mile-long threads with huge numbers of quoted responses. Everyone also made sure to attribute quoted text: "John P. Smith wrote..."
  2. The discussion was intensely smart and opinionated. Everyone on the list is a good writer and can articulate their points very well. Most even included lists of references when talking about something, including relevant URLs.
  3. There was no HTML-email. No Rich-text email. No MSHTML bullshit. Everyone stuck to the standard ASCII or plaintext format. Examining the email headers of ten posts, I found that nearly everyone was using some kind of text-based email program like Pine, Mutt, or other variants of command-line email applications.
  4. There is no moderator. And yet, somehow the flames are absent. People who like to ruin such lists are conspicuously absent. Even though the list is not invitation-only, the people on the list tend to protect it by not publicly mentioning it anywhere, which leads to the subscriber base filling up with @aol.com addresses and people who don't know how to participate properly in a community such as this list.
  5. The information and ideas on this list are a vertiable goldmine. Scanning the posts since I subscribed in February, easily two out of three names of posters are from people well-known in the industry, or people that pioneered the industry.
  6. The subscriber base is relatively small. I'm guessing it's less than 100, but there have been neary 300 highly-intelligent posts since I subscribed in February.

Note: I am purposely being vague about this list, as it's my responsibility to not send hundreds of new subscribers to it.

I mentioned all of the above to my CTO, and he said, "Yeah, the whole Internet used to be like that. Crazy." And I remembered what Usenet was like before the spammers found it. Before the AOL idiots found it. Before the trolls found it. Before it became the wreck it is today.

And I started thinking about the nature of mailing lists and I came to realization that only the ones that are private or invitation-only can really escape the reality that most lists face: high signal-to-noise ratio, endless flame wars, huge susbcriber bases that become unmanagable for any list administrator, stupid trolls, etc.

So, I've decided to close up the subscription for the cam-list, wipe the subscription list clean, and start over. Everyone on the cam-list is invited to re-susbcribe, but only with the understanding that it is a private list and will be invitation-only. I don't expect everyone who is subscribed to participate in the dicussions, but I do expect those of you who know how to write and debate to participate more than the common lurker.

I expect all of the above things I noticed about private mailing lists to apply. Trim your posts. No HTML-email. No flame wars. No trolls. If you don't know what these things are, please go away. If you don't know what standard list etiquette is, also go away. You're not welcome. I'm not trying to be rude or anything, but I expect only people with considerable experience in this industry to participate. The target industry for the cam-list is web design, web development, and the open source software movement.

After May 14, 2001, the cam-list is invitiation-only. You must be referred by another list member or get permission from me to be added to the list. Please email me if you do not understand.

 © 1984, 1993-2003 Cameron Barrett