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Dec 2001 / media shoegaze :: email this story to a friend

Flame Wars, Marketing Droids and the Power of Information
By Jeff Wiegand

Since 1997, electroponics, inc. has been the home of some of the most active listservs in St. Louis. Currently we host 35 lists and have a subscriber base of about 8,600 people.

electroponics It all started with the Metropolist in October of 1997. From a base of 16 people, (including producer Brian Marston and current Metropolis president Melanie Adams), we set forth spreading the good and bad words of the day. Several years later, the lists are an integral part of "getting the word out," with the media and politicos paying close attention.

From the outset of the Metropolist, there was a concern about how the organization Metropolis St. Louis would be perceived. The list was home to several, if not seasonal, "flame wars," mostly revolving around the City/County divide. People were actually confusing the Metropolist with Metropolis, and the opinions expressed on one as the official voice of the other. Personally, I think a toad should be proud of its warts, but I was finally pushed to split the lists and turn the Metropolist into a Steering Committee posting forum, with no discussion, and create a new discussion list.

We had a contest to name the new list, and Joe Bonwich came up with the stLouIST moniker. I liked it for the capitalization possibilities. Not the money, the capitals: stLOuiST, stLoUiST, etc. In August of 2000, the stLouIST hit the net. There are currently 688 subscribers with most people being Metropolis members and/or "progressive" in attitude.

Like most of the lists, the stLouIST is "lightly moderated" by myself. This means that messages are not screened before they go out, but the right is reserved to unsubscribe people who break The Rules.

The Rules
Be Nice
Reply to Person
Do Not Quote Personal Mail to List
Keep on Topic
No "Me Too" Responses
No Trolling
Read the Whole Thread before Posting
Reread your Post

What I like about the medium of e-mail is the speed, convenience and fact that you don't have to remember or retype anything anymore if you can manage your mail properly. It is the original killer app of the Internet, even if it has lost some of its luster. Spam, Microsoft worms and the Department of Justice aside, I always try to remember the original joy of being able to send text from one computer to another anywhere in the world.

In our own way, I would like to think that the lists contribute to the well-being of St. Louis. The power of information is something that can't be ignored, and will hopefully be embraced instead of defended against. I am also very proud of the stLouIST and all the other lists in regards to the content and maturity. I hope that we are promoting understanding and providing the communication channels to accomplish good things.

To subscribe or unsubscribe to the stLouIST or any of the other lists we host, you can go to To the chagrin of the marketing droids everywhere, we do not share our subscriber information or allow spam. In the hopefully near future, there will be a web version like egroups and a more sophisticated statistics package tied to it. We are using the same software that was purchased for the original Metropolist and it is definitely showing its age. I have recently found the secret archives of every post since the beginning of the lists, and that will be available for searching soon.

Jeff Wiegand is the head cook at electroponics, inc. He can be seen around town sporting a new, conservative haircut.

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