Some months ago, the “Lapidary Digest” list folded. Just about a week
ago, the “Faceter’s Digest” list followed. And, now, today, we learn
that the “rocks-and-fossils” list is also soon to join them.
This is regrettable. There is a lack in my life without the
cameraderie and the informed and practical gem that was so
abundant on “Lapidary Digest” and “Faceter’s Digest”.
The news that “rocks-and-fossils” is about to close or change to a
new list comes by strange co-incidence in the middle of a debate I’ve
been having with my good friend Carol Bova, who knows a thing or two
about burnout herself from having published the "Eclectic Lapidary"
online magazine. Perhaps you, list members, can help decide that
I’m arguing that running a good, informative, well managed list comes
almost with burnout built in. The better the list is, the better the
input from members, the more informative the posts are, the more
subscribers who will join. Yet as more and more subscribers join, that
inevitably means more and more demands upon the list manager’s time,
so that in time, (and the better the list, the quicker it will happen)
what began as a hobby turns into the equivalent of a job. And curbing
spam and dousing flame wars can be quite a demanding job.
To this point, Carol and I agree. But where we differ is that I
believe that the solution is a list which charges a subscription fee.
It doesn’t have to be a big fee, just enough to assure the list
manager a reasonably fair compensation for all that time and work. Say
10 dollars a year. I’m a member of one list (technical writers) where
a paid subscription model was debated, last year, when list traffic
threatened to overwhelm the capacities of both the manager of the list
and the server which carried it. In that case, it was decided to go
with a daily bulletin of paid advertising rather than a subscription
fee. But we gem and mineral folks do it more for love, while technical
writing is more of a salaried profession, hence paid ads for books,
conferences, and jobs can carry the cost of the technical writing
list, which might not be the case for us gem and mineral
To cut the long story short, my feeling is that there would be enough
demand for a gem-cutting and lapidary list on the
small-subscription-fee model that it could work. Carol, for her part,
is inclined to be dubious, but is, she says, willing to be persuaded.
What do YOU think? I know that the demise of “Lapidary Digest and
"Faceter’s Digest” has opened up a gap that I certainly would be
prepared to pay a subscription to fill. But would anyone else? What
say you, fellow listers?