Too much of a good thing?

Voice Card  -  Volume 27  -  John Card Number 11  -  Sun, Feb 28, 1993 5:36 PM

Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? I just finished reading most (well, at least half) of Paul's text imports, and as much as I enjoyed his selections, I found myself more than a bit overwhelmed by the size (over 13,000 imported words!) and somewhat troubled by the precident being set (over 26 imported words for every original word).

As we archipelagoans sail ever deeper into the information age, we are exposed to an ever-increasing volume of information. At the same time, with the improvements I've made to the voice stacks, it's even easier than before to append vast piles of this information into the record. It takes only a few seconds to copy and paste ten thousand words, but it takes MUCH longer to read through this stuff.

Don't get me wrong. I am NOT opposed to importing text. I've even been known to do a little importing myself from time to time. It's just that I don't want Archipelago to become like the Congressional Record: thick and largely unread.

I think that Archipelago works best when we speak with our own voices. I started the group so that we could get to know each other better and to preserve a life-long conversation. The problem with excessive text dumps is that they inherently promote monologues, not dialogues. And they tell us little about ourselves.

I therefore propose, as a rule of thumb, that in the future we try to adhere to the following guideline: in each contribution we should contribute more original words than imported words. When compiling your voice cards, take a second to add up the word counts as revealed by the handy word-o-meters. If the total word count on cards containing imported text exceeds the word count of your own original voice cards, then either add more cards of your own, or consider deleting some of the cards with text written by other people. Of course, lengthy selections can always be included as a separate text file.

What do you think? And do any of you have any other ideas about improving the quality of our conversation?