14.1132, All: Important Message from Andrew Carnie

LINGUIST List linguist at linguistlist.org
Thu Apr 17 15:36:32 UTC 2003

LINGUIST List:  Vol-14-1132. Thu Apr 17 2003. ISSN: 1068-4875.

Subject: 14.1132, All: Important Message from Andrew Carnie

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Date:  Tue, 15 Apr 2003 11:20:44 -0400 (EDT)
From:  Andrew Carnie <carnie at linguistlist.org>
Subject:  A former moderator sings the praises LINGUIST.

-------------------------------- Message 1 -------------------------------

Date:  Tue, 15 Apr 2003 11:20:44 -0400 (EDT)
From:  Andrew Carnie <carnie at linguistlist.org>
Subject:  A former moderator sings the praises LINGUIST.

Please take a moment to read this message from Andrew Carnie


		*** ONLY $1160.43 ***

Dear LINGUIST Subscribers,

I know you all have heard this tune many times during the past few
weeks of fund drive, and are sick of hearing about how wonderful the
List is, and what a valuable resource it is, etc. etc. But then I have
to ask why it is that some of you *still* haven't contributed to the
List. So I thought I might add my voice to the chorus, and pipe in
with the view of a former insider from the LINGUIST List world.

Here's a small confession: Before I joined the LINGUIST team in 1996,
I too never contributed. I had a myriad of excuses. First I was a
student and couldn't contribute much -- I'd contribute later when I
was fully employed.  Well this wasn't exactly true; I could have
contributed $5 without any serious damage to my budget. When I first
got a job, I was no more inclined to contribute. On one hand, I
thought others would take care of it, and second I kept thinking "It's
just an email list, why do they need money to run it?"

I got quite a shock when I was invited to join the LINGUIST team,
first as review editor and then later as a co-moderator. Running the
List is like running a small, occasionally chaotic, business. The
moderators of the list don't just sit around deciding what messages to
post (although that, in itself is a full time job). They direct a
staff of 23 editors and programmers. They are relentless
LINGUIST-promoters. They have taught themselves the intricacies of web
design and Oracle database management. They patiently deal with irate
subscribers. They decide policy on everything from the length of the
subject line to questions of whether posting a message on the state of
linguists in Israel is a political or linguistic message. They
negotiate with publishers.  They write development grants. They deal
with administrators at their universities who don't understand what
LINGUIST is. They host great LINGUIST parties. They deal with
technical support problems that are beyond the ken of mere mortals (I
was actually worried about Helen's health when the new webpages were
being developed). And ... they do it for free!

At a number of recent conferences, people have come up to me looking
for the dirt and asking "So... why did you quit the LINGUIST
list?". Clearly they have in mind a schism, a fight, or a brouhaha. I
like to tease these people with tales of intrigue and horror, but the
truth is quite mundane: The amount of work required of a LINGUIST team
member was simply overwhelming and I was having to neglect my first
love, syntax, to do it. I'm a big boy and generally an overachiever;
but to be honest, I couldn't hack it.  The job is too big.

And then there are the editors, who your money *does* support. This
letter would go on forever if I tried to list each of them and the
fabulous work they do, but I would like to mention one. Many of you
don't know it, but Karen Milligan is the star who keeps the whole list
running. Helen and Tony have come to rely on her as on no editor
before her. Her judgment, tact and skill continue to amaze me. Without
Karen and the other student editors, I can promise you, the list would
*NOT* exist. But that's what will happen if you don't
contribute. These students don't receive anything resembling a
prince's wage; but they work so hard on tasks that make our lives
easier.  Did you know that when the decision was made to switch to an
Oracle data-base structure for the website, the LINGUIST editors
didn't just have to keep up on their duties managing the listserv and
the previous website (which was manually generated), they had to go
back and re-code all the previous years of LINGUIST postings with
oracle database tags. They did this *BY HAND*. Because of their
sacrifice, you all now have a fantastic searchable tool.

In any case, let me just say that I'm ashamed I never contributed
money before I got involved with the List, and now I don't miss a
chance to donate. It is *YOUR* responsibility (yes, I'm talking
directly to YOU, a reader of this list) to keep this fantastic
resource above ground. If you have ever applied for a job that you
read about on the List, have had your book or dissertation announced
or reviewed on the List, have gone to a conference because you've seen
a call for papers on the List, have sat and fumed over someone's
comments in a List discussion, or have searched the website looking
for a journal's home page or another linguist's email, then you OWE
the list your contribution, even a small one. There are no linguists
who are exempt and *everyone* should contribute.

(And finally, if that isn't enough, if enough of you donate, they'll
stop posting these annoying calls for money... at least until next




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LINGUIST List: Vol-14-1132

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