Mailing List Metrics

I don’t know how many times I’ve watched somebody put up a slide showing how the distribution of posts in a mailing list, or commits to source code, or what ever are power-law distributed. So it’s nice to see somebody trying to drag some other statistics out of the posting data.

Who’s a regular? Who’s a flamer? Who’s an information provider?

A person with a high posts/thread ratio would seem to be a conversationalist. A person that tends to respond, but rarely post would seem to be a reactor – maybe even a flamer. A person who starts threads but rarely responds in threads would might well be a spammer.

You can read more in this news article about Marc Smith, Sociologist at Microsoft which appears to be connected to the PR around the release of NetScan .

Netscan’s pretty neat too. It shows that alt.sci.sociology‘s near neighbors include and alt.comedy.standup. Who knew?

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