John Suler's The Psychology of Cyberspace
This article dated May 97


How Many Mail List Subscribers
Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?

This humorous piece pokes fun at many of the interpersonal and group dynamics typical of a mailing list. The author of this piece is unknown.


How many mail list subscribers does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: 1,331

1 to change the light bulb and to post to the mail list that the light bulb has been changed

14 to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light bulb could have been changed differently

7 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs

27 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs

53 to flame the spell checkers

41 to correct spelling in the spelling/grammar flames

156 to write to the list administrator complaining about the light bulb discussion and its inappropriateness to this mail list

109 to post that this list is not about light bulbs and to please take this email exchange to another list

203 to demand that cross posting to other lists about changing light bulbs be stopped

111 to defend the posting to this list saying that we all use light bulbs and therefore the posts *are* relevant to this mail list

3 to post about links they found from the URLs that are relevant to this list which makes light bulbs relevant to this list

306 to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this technique, and what brands are faulty

27 to post URLs where one can see examples of different light bulbs

14 to post that the URLs were posted incorrectly, and to post corrected URLs

33 to concatenate all posts to date, then quote them including all headers and footers, and then add "Me Too."

12 to post to the list that they are unsubscribing because they cannot handle the light bulb controversey

19 to quote the "Me Too's" to say, "Me Three."

4 to suggest that posters request the light bulb FAQ

48 to propose new change.lite.bulb newsgroup

47 to say there is already an alt.light.bulb newsgroup

143 to ask if anyone ever did change the lightbulb


See also in The Psychology of Cyberspace:

The Natural Life Cycle of Mailing Lists
Extending a Work Group into Cyberspace
A Simple Decision-Making Method for E-mail Groups


back to the Psychology of Cyberspace home page
www.rider.edu/suler/psycyber/psycyber.html