glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Tue, 28 May 1996 11:56:35 -0700

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Since listmembers have not been discussing procedural questions on-list, I
asked a fairly large sample of OPE-L members off-list for feedback this
week regarding what should be done with the new lists (especially EM-L)
and how to focus our discussions and move forward. I would like to thank
all of you who responded to my request. In this post, I will only deal
with the second question.

Predictably, there was no single answer offered regarding what should be
done or how. Yet, I received much in the way of advice and am prepared
now to make a number of suggestions regarding our discussions which,
hopefully, will meet with general approval.


I SUGGEST that listmembers write posts during the next 2-4 weeks
identifying the remaining _Capital_ issues that you want to see us
discuss. Once we have that listing, we will have a better idea about what
we should discuss.


* Most respondents indicated that they were generally satisfied with the
discussions on OPE-L. Most also expressed the desire that there should
not be a rush to get to "Post-Capital" topics. In general, most were
happy to allow a a largely unstructured "drift" to occur. In that
spirit, I am making suggestions rather than formal proposals at this

* While not favoring a definite timetable, many also suggested that a
listing as above would at least allow us to take stock of where we are
and what _Capital_ issues remain to be discussed.

* The "major suggestion" asks that you respond within the next month. This
will give everyone an opportunity to think about what you want to
discuss and not feel that you are being rushed into responding. If you
prefer, you can send a message to me privately with this information.

* A tacit acknowledgement in the above suggestion is the recognition that
it has taken us longer to get towards the "Post-Capital topics than
originally anticipated. This should not be viewed as either a
complaint or an admission of failure. On the contrary, we should feel
very good about the quality of our discussions. This suggestion does
also *not* mean that any of the current threads should be cut short or
that "Post-Capital" discussions are out-of-order. What I hope we can do,
though, is combine spontaneity and flexibility with an attempt to
structure our discussion so that all those who want to raise issues for
discussion will eventually be able to.


* It would help if there was a cleaner separation of threads. To
accomplish this, I ask that you make it clear that the "subject line" of
your posts matches the topics discussed. For instance, if all posts
related to Ch. 5 had "Ch. 5" in the title, it would make it easier to
follow the threads.

* Please remember to include the OPE-L identification #(s) of any posts
that you are responding to.

* Please label your Mikes, Michaels, and Pauls (e.g. Mike W. instead of

* Please, where possible, only include those sections of the post that you
are responding to rather than reproducing the post in its entirety.

* Please recognize that others may need time to print-out and consider
your posts. If someone does not respond immediately, therefore, this
might simply mean that they are giving your posts extra consideration
and want to have time to collect their thoughts before replying.

[In passing, let me note that many of the posts are very challenging and
require much greater time and thought to digest than is the case typically
with Net lists. This is overwhelmingly a positive development. Yet, it
also has a downside. I know that there have been many, many occasions
where I have had to print-out posts and very carefully read them again ...
and again. This is a compliment to the authors and reflects the
seriousness and positive intensity and complexity of our discussions].

* Allowance should also be made for the fact that we all go on vacations,
need time for work, professional activities, family, friends, etc. It is
only reasonable, therefore, to expect members to join and leave threads
over time.

* Looking more towards the future, if you have recommendations for
possible future seminars on CAP-L, please contact me.

* Where possible, attempt periodic summaries of any positive outcomes of
our discussions. While we should not ignore differences in perspective,
we should also take every opportunity to state agreements where they
seem to exist (and, thereby, discover if they actually exist). In other
cases, it may be the case -- after an extended discussion -- that we
will have to "agree to disagree."

Finally, let me say that I would like to be as unobtrusive and low-profile
as possible as moderator. Basically, I am satisfied to let the discussions
progress as members wish so long as we continue to have serious and
meaningful discussions in good faith.

In OPE-L Solidarity,