FF@ has interesting seasonal dynamics. During the winter months (December through February) when the northern hemisphere fishing opportunities are limited, the number of off-topic and quicktempered postings increases. List subscribers from southern hemisphere countries such as New Zeland and Australia enjoy teasing the snowbound contingent. The winter of 1995 was particularly hostile. It took frequent postings by the list owner to keep the peace. When the weather improves, however, taking many FF@ members from their computers to the stream, postings to the list tend to emphasize more trip reports and other "how to", rather than philosophic, themes. This seasonal disaffection has itself been a cyclical discussion topic for the list members. Inevitably the first acerbic posting to appear after the Thanksgiving holiday invokes calls to hold down inflammatory rhetoric.
Two topics stood out as the most controversial on the list to date.
In 1994, the question of commercialization was on the minds of many FF@ members. Was it appropriate for members to advertise their surplus gear on the list? Was is appropriate for a fledgling business to advertise on the list? What about a larger, established business? There were many bruised feelings on this topic, and the list fractured into an info band (the original FF@) and a new list, "flyshop". The group gradually came to consensus after several months of debate that it wasnít appropriate to permit any commercial activity on the list. An individual member could list items for sale, but in order to preserve the propriety of the list, prices were not to be quoted. The details of the business could be conducted offline. The commercial list, FLYSHOP@, became the nucleus for a Web site called the Virtual Flyshop (VFS). VFS was acquired by the print magazine Fly Fisherman and its principals took on posts with the parent organization.
The other thread focused on the activities of a new member, who so agitated the list in 1995 that many members wondered publicly if the list would survive. The person in question was an eloquent and articulate writer, but his postings were on controversial topics and were typically arguing points orthogonal to the majority opinions of the list members. He would start a thread and soon have the list members arguing with themselves as well as with him. We argued about the points he raised and we argued about how to keep him from ruining our list. Several long-term list members unsubscribed or went into hibernation during this period. In the end the person voluntarily unsubscribed. To this date his motivation is unknown. Did he simply love a good argument? Was he trying to get the members of the list to question their own beliefs and ideas? The list survived this traumatic period, however, and emerged cleansed, with everyone on very good behavior for months.
Other memorable threads have included:
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