Cross-posted to ice.figure and ice.recreational.
I was around in the bad old days when all sorts of skating, whether on
wheels or blades was lumped into a single group, and was around during
the process of trying to find suitable divisions of the traffic, and
It was pretty well supported that blades and wheels should be separated,
and that within blades, hockey and figure skating should be separated,
AND that within figure, doers and watchers should be separated. But the
names of the "doers" and the "watchers" groups were tough to come up
with. Specifically, the use of "figure" for the fan group was considered
to be potentially confusing.
It turned out to BE confusing. People who DO figure skating think of what
they do as *figure skating*, not "recreational ice skating", so they find
"ice.figure" and assume that they have found the right place to talk about
DOING figure skating. They may think it's a bit odd that there is so
little discussion about "doing" skating, but they don't think to look
beyond ice.figure for some other place. Why WOULD it occur to them?
From time to time the FAQs are posted, one of which contains the charter
for the various skating groups, but I'll bet lots of people don't read them.
From time to time, someone like me will answer a "doing" question, and
include a suggestion to try the question over on ice.recreational, but
more often than not, questions that are more suitable to the other group
(such as the recent spate of "where can I skate when I visit/move to X?"
questions) are just answered here.
Now that's nice. Answering questions is kind and good, but it
perpetuates the impression that this is the right group. This does several
things: It reduces the traffic on ice.recreational, making THAT group
less useful, and It increases the traffic on ice.figure, making THAT
group more unweildy. To the extent that any "doers" hang out only
on ice.recreational (either always, or just when they are really busy),
it reduces the chance of getting a "doing" question answered well or of
participating in relevant discussions.
There are a few possibilities for addressing the situation that I can see:
-- maintain the status quo, leaving it up to individual initiative to
answer questions with a "steer" toward the other group (and relying on
the patience of other group denizens not to mind the occasional
reminders, so long as they are phrased politely)
-- put up a BRIEF reminder message at the same time as the FAQ postings
(but formatted and TITLED unlike the FAQs so it won't be skipped over)
on the figure and recreational groups only that says something to the
effect that: There are two main groups for the discussion of figure
skating. rec.sport.skating.ice.figure is geared to fan discussions, and
rec.sport.skating.ice.recreational is geared toward how, why, and where
discussions among those who skate. ... and then referring people to the
FAQs for more information.
-- Rename the groups taking into account what went wrong with the current
names. I'd suggest rec.sport.skating.ice.figure.fans and
rec.sport.skating.ice.figure.skaters (or figure.howto). I suspect,
however, based on seeing the process that came up with the current
configuration, that renaming the groups might be fairly labor-intensive.
I've been watching the traffic on the two lists since the split, and at
first there was LOTS of appropriate traffic on ice.recreational, and
almost no inappropriate traffic on ice.figure, presumably because at
first most people reading the newsgroups had been around before and during
the split. As time passed, though, more and more "doers" questions/messages
showed up on "figure" (and lots of them went unanswered or unresponded
to) and fewer showed up on "recreational").
At the same time that this was happening, the internet list SKATERS-L
also got going and its membership has increased a lot, so it's possible
that many of the "doers" have found a place for their discussions, but I
don't think that can be the whole explanation.
janet swan hill
who, as a librarian and a cataloger just naturally thinks classificatory